2 Pirates named ALL-AAC players
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – East Carolina seniors Zay Jones (first-team) and Worth Gregory (second-team) have been named All-American Athletic Conference performers according to an announcement by the league office Wednesday. For Jones, it’s his second-straight all-conference honor after being named to the second-team in 2015.
A two-year team captain, Jones wrapped up his four-year career as the NCAA FBS career (399) and single-season (158) receptions leader, while setting new ECU and American Athletic Conference single-season standards in catches and receiving yards (1,746).
This season, Jones led the NCAA FBS in four categories: receptions, receiving yards, receptions per game (13.20) and receiving yards per game (145.5). In 12 games he caught a personal-best eight touchdown passes and registered nine double-triples (catches-yards), which included a career-high 22 receptions for 190 yards at South Carolina on Sept. 17. His 22 grabs against the Gamecocks are the most by an NCAA FBS receiver in a game this season and was one shy of an all-time NCAA FBS record.
The Austin, Texas native is a finalist for the 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy (one of 12) presented by Fidelity Investments National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Jones was also named a finalist for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award (one of 10) honoring the attributes of senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition.
On Nov. 7, Jones was formally recognized as a Heisman Trophy candidate by the Heisman Trophy Trust, while being selected as a finalist for the 2016 Biletnikoff Award and a semifinalist for the 2016 Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award on Nov. 21. He has committed to play in the 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl, which will be played on Saturday, Jan. 28 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.
Gregory earned his first career all-conference accolade after ranking second in The American and 44th nationally with a 42.3 punting average. The Fort Mill, S.C. native registered 51 punts for 2,159 yards and landed 15 inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Nine of his punts went for 50 or more yards, including a season-long 65-yarder at Tulsa.
A three-time Ray Guy Award Watch List candidate (nation’s top punter), Gregory capped his three-year career ranked fourth in the Pirate annuals with a 43.00 punting average after booting 160 balls for 6,878 yards. In all, 32 punts went for 50 or more yards; he landed 66 inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and had 15 touchbacks.