The pursuit of laces and pearls for Live Oak High School’s junior long snapper Carson Jones has been marked by an exhaustive approach to perfection and a quest for anonymity.
What began as an unrelenting pledge for Jones — then an undersized eighth-grader with visions of landing a spot on the Eagles’ varsity football team as a freshman — has evolved into a heart-felt passion that’s driven the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder to among the nation’s best and in the process has created path to playing Division I football.
“That’s the ultimate goal,” Jones said. “To snap at a major DI football program.”
It’s seems unlikely that Jones — the No. 1 ranked deep snapper in the class of 2022 by ProKicker.com and No. 2 by National Kicking Rankings — could have risen to such heights without a background in the art of snapping.
However, that’s exactly what Jones has done since his arrival at Live Oak (1-1), which hosts Opelousas (0-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday in nondistrict action. He’s done so with the drive and ingenuity to compensate for not having played football until the start of junior high.
“It takes a lot to commit yourself to honing in on such a specific thing that not a lot of people think about,” Jones said. “As long as I can go out there and have nobody know my name and have all good snaps, I’m completely happy with that.”
Jones was injured most of his eighth-grade season with a high ankle sprain and learned how to snap when he was unable to practice. That is when he took aim at a goal — becoming the starting deep snapper for Live Oak’s varsity team as a freshman.
He hasn’t looked back since.
"I've been in positions before where my teams did not have a guy who could deep snap," LOHS first-year head coach Blane Westmoreland said. "Carson is so good at it. Knowing you have a guy who gets the ball where it needs to be for punts and field goals takes pressure off your special teams."
The Eagles have played in 24 consecutive games with Jones, a first-team All-District 4-5A and All-Parish the past two seasons, as their deep snapper
“I knew as a pure athlete, I wasn’t probably going to get it done,” said Jones, also an excellent student with a 4.2 grade-point average and 31 ACT score. “I saw the team was really in need of a deep snapper and I worked really hard that summer, watched YouTube videos to get good at it.”
Jones took his interest in deep snapping to another level following his freshman season and attended his first Chris Rubio camp, considered one the nation’s best for kickers/snappers. This summer he participated in several national events to further perfect his craft of delivering pin-point snaps or in industry terms — laces for extra points/field goals and pearls for punts.
Jones was named a first-team All-American at the Wilson Football Showcase in Indianapolis and finished in the top six at the Kohl’s National Scholarship Camp in Gatlinburg, Tenn. He also took part in the Hammer Kicking Top 40 Invitational in Orlando.
“The bigger and stronger he gets, the better he’s going to do,” Rubio said of Jones, who has received college interest from Mississippi State and UL. “I love his attitude. I love the direction Carson Jones is headed.”