East Carolina’s Zay Jones was honored on the field at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday after becoming the all-time leading pass catcher in FBS history. Monday, the senior wide receiver was recognized nationally with two more prestigious honors. The Pirates’ star was selected as one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award as the best receiver in the nation. Moments later, the Senior Bowl announced that he had also accepted an invitation to play in the postseason all-star game on Jan. 28 in Mobile, Ala. The Senior Bowl has traditionally been a venue for players to improve their NFL draft stock because of the abundance of coaches, general managers and personnel directors that attend the pregame practices. Jones is the leading receiver in college football with 151 catches heading into Saturday’s season finale at Temple. He needs only five more receptions to break the single-season NCAA record of 155 held by Bowling Green’s Freddie Barnes in 2009. The senior from Austin, Tex., already owns the FBS career record, surpassing former teammate Justin Hardy’s mark of 387 with a five-yard grab in the second quarter of ECU’s loss to Navy last Saturday. The other two Biletnikoff Award finalists are Oklahoma’s Dede Westbrook (70 catches, 1,354 yards, 15 touchdowns) and Northwestern’s Austin Carr (80, 1,170, 12), Jones has accounted for 1,685 receiving yards with eight scores. The winner of the Biletnikoff Award will be announced on a made-for-television ceremony on Dec. 8. Fans can cast their votes by clicking onto http://biletnikoffaward.com/fan-vote. The aggregate fan tally will count as one official vote in determining the winner. In addition to the Biletnikoff Award recognition, Jones is also a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy as the top scholar-athlete in college football and the Senior CLASS Award that honors the attributes of community, classroom and character, as well as competition.
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