Brown’s A.J. Cruz Named First Team All-American
Friday, December 07, 2012
Brown senior cornerback AJ Cruz, (Lake Forest, CA) a finalist for the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year award, has been named to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Coaches FCS All-America team, earning First Team All-American honors.
A three-time First Team All-Ivy selection, Cruz is one of 41 players in Ivy League football history to have been selected First Team All-Ivy three times, and the tenth Brown player to be named First Team All-Ivy three times. He was also a second team All-Ivy selection as a freshman and earned All-Ivy honors as a return specialist in 2012.
Known as an exceptional cover corner, Cruz intercepted 12 passes throughout his Brown career, fourth best in Brown football history. He ranked second on the team in 2012 with 71 total tackles, and intercepted four passes, second best in the Ivy League. He had 10 tackles against both Harvard and Dartmouth, and nine tackles vs. both Penn and Princeton. Cruz intercepted two passes in Brown’s shutout win over Yale and had one each against Holy Cross and Cornell.
Cruz also returned punts and kickoffs, and earned Second Team All-Ivy honors as a return specialist. He ranks sixth all-time at Brown with 929 career kickoff return yards. Cruz helped lead Brown to a 7-3 mark in 2012; the Bears fifth straight winning record.
Team Background: The AFCA has selected an All-America team every year since 1945. The five teams now chosen for each AFCA division evolved from a single 11-player squad in 1945. From 1945 until 1967, only one team was chosen. From 1967 through 1971, two teams, University Division and College Division, were selected. In 1972, the College Division was split into College I and College II. In 1979, the University Division was split into two teams — Division I-A and Division I-AA. In 1996, the College I and College II teams were renamed Division II and Division III, respectively. In 2006, the Division I-A and Division I-AA teams were renamed Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), respectively. In 2006, the AFCA started selecting an NAIA-only team.
From 1965-81, a 22-player (11 offensive, 11 defensive) team was chosen. In 1982, a punter and placekicker were added to the team. In 1997, a return specialist was added, giving us the current 25-player team. The return specialist position was replaced by an all-purpose player in 2006