Zay Jones (© James Guillroy/USA Today Sports)

Just a kid from Austin four years ago, WR Zay Jones will leave Greenville a Pirate legend

It has been a tough fall for ECU fans, players and coaches, but Zay Jones' senior season has been one of true greatness.

In 2012 a young receiver from Austin, Texas by the name of Isaiah Jones arrived on East Carolina's campus.

No one could have imagined that Jones would become FBS all-time receptions leader.  But four years, 392 catches and 4,218 yards later -- and counting -- that is exactly what happened.

As a true freshman in 2013, Jones played all 13 of the games, catching 62 passes for 604 yards and five touchdowns. Jones earned Conference USA All-Freshman Team honors and was selected as the wide receiver-of-the-year during the program’s annual postseason awards banquet.

The following season, Jones emerged as the Pirates' No. 2 receiver behind the previous career receptions holder Justin Hardy. Though Jones trailed Hardy in receptions and yards, he was still finished with 81 receptions for 830 yards and five touchdowns. Jones was selected as the program’s recipient of the Rock Roggeman Heart-of-the-Pirate Award (which symbolizes the most inspirational player) at the team’s annual awards banquet.

2015 marked a riddled season of obstacles for the Pirates. Even though the team had a lackluster season, Jones was able to record 98 receptions for 1,099 yards and five touchdowns. It was a challenge for the junior receiver because of an unstable quarterback situation. Despite everything he faced, Jones was the team's leading wide receiver and named team MVP following the season.

Saturday against Temple will mark the end of Jones' historic career. If he is able to catch eight passes, Jones will reach his goal of 400. But Jones is a team-first player who would gladly take a win instead.

This Thanksgiving Pirate Nation should take a moment and show appreciation for Zay Jones and the career he has had in Greenville.

True greatness is rarely seen. However, this fall, all ECU fans were witnesses.


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