Hills, Kizer, and Cruz earn weekly honors
Tuesday June 16, 2015
Gregory and Sampson also awarded for weekend’s highlights
LAS VEGAS – Jacksonville Sharks wide receiver Joe Hills has been awarded Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week, while LA KISS defensive back Rayshaun Kizer has been awarded Riddell Defensive Player of the Week, and Arizona Rattlers Jack linebacker AJ Cruz has been awarded J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week for Week 12 of the 2015 Arena Football League season. In addition to these awards, the AFL is also awarding the Cutters Catch of the Week and AFL Highlight of the Week. The Cutters Catch of the Week has been awarded to Tampa Bay Storm wide receiver Julius Gregory, while the AFL Highlight of the Week has been awarded to LA KISS wide receiver DeMarco Sampson.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Hills (6-5, 215, Tennessee State) tied the Jacksonville Sharks’ franchise record for receiving touchdowns in a game with six in the team’s 56-63 loss to the Tampa Bay Storm in Week 12. He has caught a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games, the longest active streak in Arena Football and fourth-longest streak in League history. Hills leads the Sharks with 28 receiving touchdowns this season.
RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kizer (5-10, 195, Walsh) led the KISS with nine tackles and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, in LA’s 48-42 overtime win against the San Jose SaberCats in Week 12. The four-time All-Arena defensive back has recorded multiple interceptions and a pick-six in back-to-back games, becoming LA’s single-season and career leader in interceptions with four to his name. Kizer also became just the third player in AFL history to record at least 60 career interceptions, raising his personal total to 61 and moving into third place in League history with 11 career pick-sixes.
J. LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE WEEK
Cruz (5-9, 195, Brown) put his versatility on full display in Week 12, recording a tackle and pass breakup on defense to go along with touchdowns as a runner, receiver, and returner in Arizona’s 69-42 victory over the Portland Thunder. The former Ivy Leaguer has rushed for a touchdown in each of the last two games and leads the League with an average of 24.8 yards per kickoff return this season.
CUTTERS CATCH OF THE WEEK
Gregory (6-4, 225, Shaw) found himself in the No. 2 spot of ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays by flipping over the wall in the back corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown in Tampa Bay’s 63-56 victory over the Jacksonville Sharks in Week 12. The rookie receiver finished the game with a team-high nine receptions for 89 yards and three touchdowns. He will receive a Cutters hat and shirt in recognition of the catch.
AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK
Sampson (6-3, 200, San Diego State) hauled in the game-winning touchdown pass in LA’s 48-42 overtime upset of the previously undefeated San Jose SaberCats in Week 12. From 16 yards out, KISS quarterback Danny Southwick found Sampson in the back of the end zone and the rookie wideout made an acrobatic play to drag his toe near the end line while being pushed out of bounds by a defender. Sampson, who has scored a touchdown in each of the last three games, finished Week 12 with eight catches for 106 yards and a score.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week candidates included: Cleveland’s Dominick Goodman, Las Vegas’ Sean Brackett, Orlando’s Bernard Morris, Portland’s Jared Perry, and San Jose’s Jeremy Kelley.
Riddell Defensive Player of the Week candidates included: Arizona’s Jeremy Kellem, Las Vegas’ Eddie Moten, New Orleans’ Cortez Stubbs, Orlando’s Rod Issac, and Tampa Bay’s Al Phillips.
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week candidates included: LA’s Laron Scott, New Orleans’ Charles McClain, Orlando’s Brandon Thompkins, Spokane’s Anthony Amos, and Tampa Bay’s Kendrick Ings.
The Arena Football League is also awarding the MVP of the Week, where fans are given the opportunity to select the winner. Candidates include Cleveland Gladiators wide receiver Dominick Goodman, Las Vegas Outlaws defensive back Eddie Moten, and Tampa Bay Storm defensive back Al Phillips. Fans will have 24 hours to vote on ArenaFootball.com beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 17. The winner will be announced on Thursday, June 18.
About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network will nationally broadcast AFL games each week for the entire 2015 season. This season will also be the first with Scott C. Butera leading the way as Commissioner. The AFL schedule culminates with ArenaBowl XXVIII Saturday, August 29, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.