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Meet the UNC D-lineman who couldn't walk five years ago

Nazair Jones came home after his Roanoke Rapids (N.C.) High team lost in the state playoffs so wiped out from his exceptional performance that he fell asleep on the couch.

The next morning, he got up like normal. But when he tried to walk, Jones could not move. He screamed for his mother and sister to help him. Excruciating pain gripped his legs. They called an ambulance and he went to the hospital.

Doctors could not explain why a healthy, active 15-year-old boy suddenly felt paralyzed from the waist down. They gave him a shot for the pain and sent him home.

Yet the pain continued for weeks. Jones alternated between using crutches, a walker and a wheelchair to get around and started losing weight. He saw other doctors, but all of them were baffled.

"Seeing him walk with a walker, a teenager who is 6-foot-5, I thought I was losing my son," said his mother, Tammy.

At his lowest point, Jones got down to 215 pounds and spent weeks bedridden in a hospital. Months of rehab followed. Today, the junior weighs nearly 300 pounds and is the key player in the middle of a North Carolina defensive front that faces yet another huge test Saturday, against No. 12 Florida State and a resurgent Dalvin Cook.

Considering the odds, Jones has made a remarkable turnaround. "I had to put my mind to it," Jones said. "I was not going to let that be the end of my career."

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