East Carolina's pursuit of a Conference USA title took a hit with the loss of two wide receivers that were expected to contribute.
Pirates coach Ruffin McNeil confirmed this week that senior Justin Jones and sophomore Jabril Soloman have been declared ineligible. There were no details specifying why the two players are ineligible, but a team spokesman said the players are not currently enrolled in school.
"While the support system we have in place here has been of great benefit to our student-athletes, we unfortunately reached a point where we are unable to help Justin and Jabril retain their eligibility," McNeill said. "The expectations we have for everyone in our program are high, both on and off the field, and I'm disappointed whenever those aren't met or even exceeded."
Jones, a starter in five games as a junior in 2012, was expected to play a significant role in the passing attack this fall. The 6-foot-8, 258 pound receiver has the versatility and experience to line up at tight end or inside receiver. Jones' ineligibility brings an end to his ECU career after 52 receptions for 598 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Soloman finished second on the team in receiving yards as a true freshman in 2012, thanks to a team-leading 24.1 yards per catch.
Quarterback Shane Carden emerged from a four-man battle last season, leading the Pirates offense within a game of a Conference USA division title. With 17 returning starters, the Pirates are preseason favorites to contend for the title again in 2013.
East Carolina kicks off year four under Ruffin McNeill on Aug. 31 against Old Dominion.