AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific will open its first season of NCAA Division II football playoff eligibility with preseason top-25 rankings and a handful of preseason All-Americans, according to several national preseason college football publications.
The Cougars, whose 2014 season opener against Grand Valley State is being televised nationally by CBS College Sports Network, were ranked 22nd in Division II in Lindy’s 2014 national college football preview and 25th in The Sporting News 2014 college football magazine. Both publications are available at newsstands and online.
“This type of national exposure is outstanding for our school and our football program,” Azusa Pacific head coach Victor Santa Cruz said. “However, it's not where you start in the polls that really matters to us, it's where you finish, so we’ll continue to stay hungry as we pursue our goals for the upcoming season.”
In addition, senior RB Terrell Watson, the 2013 GNAC Offensive Player of the Year, was named Lindy’s 2014 Preseason Division II Offensive Player of the Year, earning a spot on Lindy’s 2014 All-Division II First Team Offense. Senior DB Tyler Thornton, the 2013 GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, was named to The Sporting News Division II All-American Team.
Watson and Thornton were also first-team selections to the 26th USA College Football Division II Pre-Season All-American Teams, which also featured junior K Jamie Cacciatore as a third-team pick and senior OL Cody Clay as honorable mention. On the Beyond Sports Network (BSN) 2014 Preseason Division II All-America Football Team, Azusa Pacific was represented by Thornton (first team), Cacciatore (second team), and Watson (third team).