University of New Mexico football freshman safety A.J. Haulcy is receiving both local and national attention after an impressive rookie season. Haulcy was named to the Pro Football Focus' College All-True Freshman team. He is the first Lobo in history to receive that honor and was the only Mountain West player on the team. Haulcy also made the All-Mountain West second team, one of the three freshmen in the conference to do so alongside teammate Christian Washington.
Pro Football Focus is a sports analytics company that looks at all different levels of football. It is used by teams at the professional and college level, as well as journalists and fans.
This season, Haulcy made 87 total tackles which is the thirteenth most in the conference; on a stacked UNM defense, he was fourth on the team. His defining performance was against Fresno State University where he had 24 tackles. His 24 was the most by a Lobo against a football bowl subdivisionteam in 23 years. It was also the most tackles by an FBS player since Kenneth Murray's 28 in 2018. Murray now plays in the NFL for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Haulcy also forced two fumbles and had two interceptions this season.
In an interview with the media, Haulcy talked about how it feels to receive the award. He also shared where his confidence on the field comes from.
"It means a lot. I go out there in a game and play hard and to see that actually pay off, it means a lot to me … I always loved the game growing up, playing football and things like that. So when I'm on the field I feel like it's my time … On the field, I just got to focus on what I do. And playing with no fear, that comes from me playing at home: can't live with fear. So when I'm on the field, I give 110%,” Haulcy said.
Haulcy also talked about how he benefits from the Lobos defensive scheme. He then commented on being one of the three non-power five conference players to make the all-true freshman team
“I feel everything around the system fits me well, just the players and the teammates and, with the system, I get in a position to make plays … It just goes to show you that no matter where you are — if you go out there and play the best brand of football that you can and give 110% and go hard everyday — no matter where you are, you're going to get noticed," Haulcy said.
Haulcy played in all 12 games this season and started in 9. With senior Jerrick Reed II graduating after this season, Haulcy is likely to take on primary matchups and continue to make plays.
Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @thomasbulger10
Get content from The Daily Lobo delivered to your inbox