DURHAM, N.C. – Led by first team selections Kelby Brown, Jeremy Cash, Ross Cockrell and Jamison Crowder, Duke placed a school-record 11 players on the 2013 All-ACC football team, as announced Monday by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA).
Brown, a redshirt junior linebacker, received the most votes of any linebacker, while Cash, a redshirt sophomore safety, Cockrell, a redshirt senior cornerback, and Crowder, a junior wide receiver, all received the second-most votes at their respective positions. Crowder was also a second team selection at specialist for his efforts as Duke’s punt returner, while offensive guard Laken Tomlinson and defensive end Kenny Anunike were named to the second unit as well. Rounding out the third team were tight end Braxton Deaver, offensive tackle Perry Simmons, punter Will Monday and kickoff returner Devon Edwards. Placekicker Ross Martin received honorable mention honors.
The 11 All-ACC selections surpasses the previous school record of 10 all-league citations by the 1995 Blue Devils.
Brown, a 6-2, 230-pound native of Matthews, N.C., ranks second in the ACC with 9.2 tackles per game, leads Duke with eight quarterback hurries and ranks tied for the team lead with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He has 8.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, two interceptions and a pass breakup as the fulcrum of a Duke defense that is holding opponents to 23.0 points per game with 21 forced turnovers.
Cash, a 6-2, 210-pound native of Miami, Fla., is among the top defensive backs in the ACC, ranking third in the ACC with 9.1 tackles per game, tied for fourth with four interceptions and tied for ninth with two forced fumbles. He has a team-leading five games with double-digit tackles, including 13 in this past Saturday’s 27-25 ACC Coastal Division-clinching win at North Carolina. Cash is the only player in the ACC to rank among the top 10 in interceptions and forced fumbles and has been on the field for a team-leading 963 snaps this season.
Cockrell, a 6-0, 185-pound native of Waxhaw, N.C., received his second straight All-ACC first team nod. This season he has amassed a team-leading 12 pass breakups with three interceptions, 36 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack on the way to breaking Duke’s all-time passes defended and pass breakup records. His third interception of the season came in a 28-21 win at Wake Forest and ended the Demon Deacons’ final drive with Duke leading by one touchdown.
Crowder, a 5-9, 175-pound native of Monroe, N.C., has caught a school-record 88 receptions this season for 1,131 yards and seven touchdowns. He is just 18 yards shy of tying Duke’s single-season receiving yards record heading into the ACC Championship game against Florida State. Crowder leads the ACC in receptions and ranks among the league’s top three in receiving yards, all-purpose yards, punt return average and punt return touchdowns. He averages 15.0 yards per punt return with scoring returns of 76 and 82 yards this season. The All-ACC selection is Crowder’s second after receiving honorable mention honors last season.
Tomlinson, a 6-3, 220-pound redshirt junior from Chicago, Ill., has been on the field for 844 snaps – fifth-most on the team – and anchors an offensive line that has allowed Duke to rush for 179.9 yards per game and pass for 242.2 yards per game. Behind Tomlinson’s protection, Duke has surpassed 20 rushing and 20 passing touchdowns in the same season for the first time in school history while surrendering just 14 sacks in 12 games for the third fewest in the ACC.
Anunike, a 6-5, 260-pound redshirt senior from Galena, Ohio, leads Duke in sacks for the third straight year, totaling 6.0 to go with a team-high 13.5 tackles for loss and 64 tackles, three quarterback hurries, one forced fumble, two pass breakups and on blocked field goal. He has a tackle for loss in nine of 12 games this season, including a season-high 2.5 with 2.0 sacks in the 28-21 win at Wake Forest. Anunike was an All-ACC honorable mention selection in 2012.
Deaver, a 6-5, 240-pound redshirt junior from Charlotte, N.C., is among the top three tight ends in the ACC in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns, hauling in 36 catches for 467 yards and four touchdowns. Twenty-one of his 36 catches have gone for first downs, including four first-down receptions as part of a career-high seven-catch effort in Duke’s win at North Carolina. Deaver has caught multiple passes in every game this season and trails only Jamison Crowder for the team lead in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Simmons, a 6-5, 300-pound redshirt senior from Raleigh, N.C., is among the most successful linemen to play at Duke under head coach David Cutcliffe. Simmons, who earned All-ACC honorable mention honors one year ago, has started an ACC-leading 49 consecutive games while playing a team-high 3,671 snaps during his career without missing a game. This season he has held down the right side of a Duke offensive front that has helped to set Cutcliffe-era bests in yards per rush, rushing yards per game and rushing touchdowns with four running backs average 5.0 yards per rush or better. He has helped Duke surrender just 14 sacks in 12 games for a passing attack that averages 242.2 yards per game with 23 passing touchdowns.
Monday, a 6-4, 210-pound redshirt sophomore from of Flowery Branch, Ga., has averaged 42.8 yards per punt with 19 of his 60 punts downed inside the opponent 20-yard line and 14 traveling 50 yards or more. He was an All-ACC first team selection in 2012 and has a hold on Duke’s career record for yards per punt at 43.79.
Edwards, a 5-9, 185-pound redshirt freshman from Covington, Ga., leads the NCAA with 32.7 yards per kick return and has scored four touchdowns this season, including on kickoff returns of 100 and 99 yards and interception returns of 45 and 25 yards. He cracked Duke’s starting lineup at safety prior to the Virginia Tech game and has since amassed 41 tackles, three interceptions and five pass breakups. He returned interceptions for touchdowns on back-to-back plays in the win over N.C. State on Nov. 9.
Martin, a 5-9, 185-pound sophomore from Solon, Ohio, has totaled 84 points this season, hitting 11-of-15 field goals and a school-record 51 extra point attempts. He booted Duke’s game-winning 27-yard field goal this past Saturday at North Carolina and totaled nine points in that 27-25 win. For his career, Martin has connected on 31-of-38 field goals for a school-record percentage of .816. He was an All-ACC honorable mention selection as a freshman in 2012.