|7 Zay Jones|
Zeek Bigger and Bryce Williams Garner First-Team Accolades
Pirates Keep Bowl Chances Intact with First Win in Orlando Since 2008
Junior Receiver Is Also A Fred Biletnikoff And Paul Hornung Candidate
Junior Receiver Was Also Named To Paul Hornung Watch List On July 6
Junior Receiver Has Hauled Down 10 Career Touchdowns
A personable, polished and gifted performer who is poised for honors candidacy on both the conference and national level as a senior … A First-Team Preseason All-American Athletic Conference selection by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele Magazine for the second-straight season… Also a two-year member of the Paul Hornung Award, Fred Biletnikoff Award and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Watch Lists … Quickly developed into a fan and media favorite around the ECU campus and Greenville … An active community relations participant who is often requested to speak and read at local elementary schools … Will begin final campaign as the Pirates’ starter at the “H” receiver slot for the fourth consecutive year … Expected to bounce back from a nagging shoulder injury that prevented spring participation and caused significant discomfort during latter half of 2015 season … Overall, has played in 38 games with 29 starts … Will open senior season standing third on ECU’s career receptions (241) and reception yards (2,533) lists … Is one of only three East Carolina receivers with over 2,000 reception yards (Justin Hardy/4,541 and Dwayne Harris/3,001) … Ranks sixth all-time in touchdown catches with 15 … Brings an active streak of at least one reception in 35-straight games (dating back to Sept. 28, 2013 vs. North Carolina) into the 2016 opener … Has caught multiple passes in 37 contests, reached double-digit reception figures eight times (two/2014, six/2015) and posted triple-digit receiving yard totals on 10 occasions (two/2013, three/2014, five/2015) … Pirates are 12-2 in games with a TD catch (only losses to Florida, BYU in 2015) … Thirty (30) receptions have exceeded 20 yards … Racked up 100 or more all-purpose yards in 16 games (three/2013, seven/2014, six/2015) … Also has returned 29 kickoffs for 598 yards (20.6 ypr) and completed two-of-three passes for 34 yards … Owns starts in both bowl contests played in (Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, Birmingham) … Did not participate in 2016 spring strength and conditioning testing because of aforementioned injury, however still owns one of the top back squats (475 pounds), power cleans (306), push jerks (260), vertical leaps (36.5”), broad jumps (11’5”), pro shuttle and 60-shuttle times (4.04 and 11.26) among all receivers … Cited by head strength coach Jeff Connors as the most improved member of the program (physical development) after sophomore year.
2015: Became the eighth Pirate in school history to eclipse the single-season 1,000 receiving yards milestone and came just two receptions away from being the fourth player to reach a triple-digit catch total … Caught 98 passes for 1,099 yards – an average of 11.2 yards per reception … Ranked fourth nationally in receptions per game (8.2), 18th in receiving yards per game (91.6) and 25th in overall receiving yards … A Second-Team All-American Athletic Conference selection who led league in receptions per game and stood second in reception yards per game … Started all 12 contests … Had multiple catches in each game and reached double-digit reception totals six times, including a career-best 14 each in outings at Florida and UCF … Surpassed 100 reception yards on five occasions with a personal-high of 181 against Knights in road finale … Twice booked back-to-back 100-yard receiving games, once early in the season (135/Florida, 130/Navy) and once late in the year (181/UCF, 124/Cincinnati) … Other century mark performance was against Temple (106) … Topped 50 receiving yards in 10 games (27/Tulsa, 8/USF were only exceptions) … On receiving end of a unit-high five touchdown passes – one each vs. Florida (27-yarder), Virginia Tech (26) and BYU (seven), while matching a personal-best with two at UCF (eight and 13-yarders) … In addition to pair of 14-catch efforts, also tallied 12 grabs vs. Cincinnati and a trio of 10-reception tilts (Navy, BYU, Temple) … Nearly reached sixth double-triple with nine-catch, 85-yard performance at Connecticut … Thirty-eight (38) catches went for 10-plus yards (15 for 20-plus, three for 30-plus) ... Longest grab of season was a 36-yarder against Midshipmen … Was targeted 25 times on third-down plays and made 19 receptions (76.0 percent) to help pick up 15 first downs … Overall, was thrown to on 125 occasions (78.4 percent catch rate) and was responsible for 57 first downs … Hauled in four-of-five fourth-down throws (80.0 percent) … Made 66 receptions for 747 yards (11.2) and two TDs during eight-game league schedule (32-362, three TDs in four non-conference tilts) … Averaged an impressive 117.0 receiving yards and scored four touchdowns in six road contest (63-702), compared to a 66.7 ypg clip and just one score in six home dates … Also excelled in nationally-televised weekday games with a 124.0 ypg average (compared to an 80.8 mark in nine Saturday matchups) … Amassed 100 or more all-purpose yards five times (100/Towson, 135/Florida, 130/Navy, 100/Temple, 181/UCF, 124/Cincinnati) … Completed only pass attempt of season for 34 yards (to Davon Grayson vs. Tulsa) … Rushed once for -6 yards against Owls … Returned one kickoff for 23 yards in opener vs. Towson … A three-time game captain (Florida, Navy, Connecticut) … Selected as program’s MVP at conclusion of season.
High School: On the receiving end of 36 passes for 439 yards (12.2 ypr) and six touchdowns as a senior at Stephen F. Austin High School ... Led Maroons with 14 kick returns for 159 yards (11.4 ypr), rushed for an additional 204 yards on 41 carries and completed three-of-six passes for 32 yards and a TD ... A two-year varsity starter for coach Mike Rosenthal, who was a Monogram winner at Notre Dame and enjoyed an NFL career with the New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins ... Rates as a three-star recruit according to Scout.com and ESPN.com ... A First-Team All-District (15-5A) selection at wide receiver and kick returner in 2012 .... One of only three wide receivers to earn a spot on the Austin American-Statesman's All-Central Texas 2012 preseason football team ... Also was a Fanstand/KJCE AM 1370 Preseason All-Austin Area Team pick as a receiver ... Contest of note was a five-catch, 65-yard, two-touchdown effort against Westwood in the Maroons' season opener ... Caught 41 passes for 359 yards and four touchdowns as a junior ... Also ran for 55 yards and a score 42 attempts and completed 27-of-53 passes for 280 yards with four TDs and four interceptions in 2011 ... Junior season highlight was a three-touchdown passing performance against Akins ... Split the District 15-5A Newcomer-of-the-Year award with Bowie junior running back Gino Jonassaint in '11 … Earned additional letters in track (won the district triple jump championship and competed on the 4x1 and 4x2 relay teams).
Personal: Full name is Isaiah Avery Jones, but goes by Zay … Born March 30, 1995 at Dallas, Texas … Major is communications … Has garnered ECU Honor Roll and Dean’s List accolades for work in the classroom … Also earned Capital One Academic All-District (first-team) honors during the 2014 season … Son of former Pirate letterman (1988-91) and East Carolina Hall of Famer (inducted in 2004) Robert Jones, who remains the only consensus (AP, Scripps-Howard, Football News, Walter Camp, Kodak, College Football Writers Association, College & Pro Football Newsweekly) All-America performer (1991) in the history of the ECU program ... Father also earned All-America honors out of his linebacking position as a junior in 1990 and was a part of three Super Bowl championship teams with the Dallas Cowboys (1993, 1994, 1996) ... Older brother Cayleb Jones is on the Philadelphia Eagles roster after playing collegiately at Texas and Arizona … In all, has five siblings …Additionally, uncle Jeff Blake was quarterback on the 1991 East Carolina team, while cousin Emory Blake caught a TD pass in the 2010 national championship game while playing for Auburn ... Enjoys acting and dancing, in fact, served as co-master of ceremonies for the 2015 ECU Goldspy’s (an annual awards presentation and ceremony emulating the ESPY’s) and starred in an athletics department promotional video in 2016 entitled Can’t Stop The Feeling of Pirate Pride! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ffq0n13rvc)