PEMBROKE — The opportunity to pursue professional dreams manifested for all-region return specialist Devin Jones on Thursday when the Mooresville native earned an invitation to rookie minicamp with the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers.

With the announcement, Jones will now become the fifth player in the 15-year history of the program to participate in a NFL minicamp. Former long snapper Mike Yerry (2011-13) was invited to Tampa Bay Buccaneers camp in 2014, defensive lineman Mike Keck (2012-15) camped with the Buffalo Bills in 2016 and placekicker/punter Matt Davis (2011-12, 14-15) worked out with the Green Bay Packers in 2017. Former defensive lineman Domenique Davis camped with the New York Jets prior to the 2020 season.

Jones, a graduate of Lake Norman High School, was a two-time first team All-Mountain East Conference honoree for the Black & Gold, and earned all-region accolades from the Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) in 2019. A dangerous return man in multiple phases of the game, Devin Jones averaged 13.91 yards on 11 kickoff returns last season, while also averaging 20.0 yards on 18 punt returns as well. He tallied an 80-yard touchdown on a punt return against Glenville State, while also turning in a 29-yard punt return against the Pioneers as well.

Jones logged time in 44 games for the Braves from 2017-22 and amassed 116 tackles (89 solo), including 4-1/2 tackles for loss, while also compiling five interceptions, 23 pass break-ups, three forced fumbles and a blocked kick. He exited Pembroke ranking fourth all-time with 2,742 all-purpose yards, and is the program’s all-time leader in kick return yards (2,121), kick returns (93) and kick return touchdowns (4). He is also just one of a pair of Braves to log a 100-yard kickoff return over the course of their UNCP career.

Allred tabbed to D2CCA All-Region squad

The dividends of a stellar freshman campaign continued to pay off for UNC Pembroke softball’s Samantha Allred on Thursday when the rookie was named to the NCAA Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCCA) All-Southeast Region team, the organization announced.

The announcement marks the 11th time that the Black & Gold has had at least one player grace the distinguished list. Allred was one of six student-athletes from Conference Carolinas to be named to this year’s team. Kylie Emmanuele, Courtlynn Cooney and Hannah Killough from Mount Olive were honored, along with King’s Rikkelle Miller and Erin Foster (2nd team).

A native of Vass, Allred saw action in 33 games, logging 31 starts at designated player and finished the season with a .385 (35-for-91) batting average, seven doubles and three home runs, and also added 22 RBI and 19 runs scored. The Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Month selection in March, she hit .571 (16-for-28) across a 10-game hitting streak from March 29 to April 14, and was named to the Conference Carolinas All-Tournament Team a week after picking up All-Conference Carolinas laurels.

Athletic communication professionals from NCAA Division II Southeast Region schools and conferences selected the D2CCA all‐region teams. The process concludes with all‐American selections announced later this month.