Odds on Post Season Honors

Matt Zielenski

With three games left in the 2003 season, who on Duke's team has a shot at all-ACC this year? The number we get will probably depend largely on how Duke fares in it's last three contest. Anyway, here's one man's opinion on which players are deserving and what their chances are.

Best chance:

Defensive Tackle Matt Zielenski - Many outside Duke don't know this name, but if you look at the updated statistics on theacc.com, you will notice that Z-man is tops in the conference among all DTs in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks. He also is constantly double-teamed, therefore occupying two blockers. What more can you ask for our of a DT? If he continues his level of play for the remainder of the season, keeping him off the first team will be a mistake by the sportswriters.

50/50 shot:

Running Back Chris Douglas - He's currently in a virtual 3-way tie with PJ Daniels and Chris Barclay for the ACC's rushing lead. If anyone is deserving of a career selection, this would probably be the guy. He's about 230 yards away from becoming Duke's all time leading rusher. He will also become the ACC's 2nd all-time leader in all-purpose yardage, and he does have an outside shot at the record. He would have to average 173 yards per game in the last 3 contests to do so. If he gets the record, his case gets stronger.

2nd team possibility:

Strong Safety Terrell Smith - He is 2nd in the ACC in total tackles, first among defensive backs. His reputation as a great hitter will probably get him some recognition as well. A few big plays down the stretch would definitely help his case.

Linebacker Ryan Fowler - He has been Duke's leading tackler for the past 3 seasons and will end up as Duke's second all time leading tackler. He currently stands tied for 8th in the league in tackles. He was honorable mention last year, and is having another fine season.

Left Tackle Drew Strojny - When people talk about the best offensive tackles in the league, the names Nat Dorsey and Chris Colmer come to mind. However, Strojny is rarely mentioned. I can say this, the pro scouts definitely know who he is. Expect his name to be called on Day 1 come the 2004 NFL draft.

Long shots:

Defensive End Philip Alexander - He been quiet recently, but still is 2nd in the conference in tackles for loss. Also, his 6 sacks puts him in a 3 way tie for 3rd in the conference. Duke's last two opponents, NC State and Tennessee, have not given up many sacks this season, so he will have a chance to improve his stock these last 3 weeks

Cornerback Kenneth Stanford – Duke's pass defense has improved by 80 yards per game from the 2002 season. One of the biggest reasons for this is Stanford. He always draws the opponent's best receiver, and is currently tied for second in the conference with 10 passes defended. He will need a few interceptions in the final 3 games to strengthen his case.

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