Welcome, Victor Cruz.
The Paterson, New Jersey native has exploded on to the scene in the NFL this season at the age of 25. Cruz attended UMass, but was signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Giants. This season, he has become a household name. Cruz has quickly become known for his tremendous speed, great hands and dancing the salsa in the end zone after scoring a touchdown.
He caught the attention of many people when he scored three touchdowns against the New York Jets on August 16, 2010 in a preseason game. He piled up 145 yards on six catches in that game and made a name for himself with many fans.
Cruz was remembered for that game, but with the receiving trio of Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and Steve Smith last season, there was no chance for him to showcase his talents in the regular season. When the New York Giants parted ways with Smith, it opened the door for Cruz to prove that the preseason showcase was not a fluke.
He still had Domenik Hixon ahead of him, however. In Week 2, Hixon tore his ACL allowing Cruz to finally have his chance.
Victor Cruz made his first catches of his career in Week 2 when he had two receptions for 17 yards. Cruz caught three passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3, and has not looked back since. He has compiled a ridiculous 1,536 receiving yards and averaged 18.7 yards per catch.
Cruz averaged 96 yards per game and scored nine touchdowns this season.
Cruz has seven 100-plus yard games, and a 98 and 99-yard effort as well. He has surpassed 155 yards in four games this season—including a 164-yard effort in Week 16 and a 178-yard performance in Week 17 to help the Giants clinch the NFC East.
Eli Manning has found his new favorite target, and combined with Hakeem Nicks, the Giants will have a phenomenal receiving core for years to come. Nicks, who posted his first 1,000-plus yard season last year, added another 1,192 yards this season. It was Cruz who dazzled this year, however, with his electric speed and explosive playmaking ability.
And his smooth salsa moves.
Cruz celebrates his scores not by spiking the ball or jumping in to the stands, but by dancing the salsa. When Cruz scores a touchdown, he dances the salsa in honor of his grandmother who loved salsa and merengue, and used to dance with him when he was growing up.
Cruz says he dances for his mother as well—who is a big fan of salsa music. Giants fans aren't complaining about his dancing, either: When they see the salsa, they know that their team is putting points on the board.
The NFC East Champion Giants would probably not be in the playoffs if not for the sensational year that Victor Cruz has had. For those who remember the fantastic game that he had in the preseason against the Jets, it's no surprise that he is having a good start to his NFL career. It does come as a surprise, however, that he is having one of the best receiving seasons in the entire league this year.
Victor Cruz finished the regular season ranked third in receiving yards with 1,536, third in yards per game with 96, third in 20-plus yard receptions with 25 and second in 40-plus yard receptions with nine.
It's been a fantastic first full year for the undrafted free agent.
See how he plays a part in my 5 reasons the Giants can make the Super Bowl here!