DURHAM, N.C. – Led by first team selections Jamison Crowder, David Helton and Laken Tomlinson, Duke placed nine players on the 2014 All-ACC football team, as announced Monday by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA).
A senior, Crowder earned first team all-league honors at both wide receiver and return specialist while Helton, a senior linebacker, and Tomlinson, a redshirt senior offensive guard, both received the second-most votes at their respective positions. Redshirt sophomore DeVon Edwards joined Crowder with two citations, garnering third team honors as a return specialist and honorable mention accolades as a safety. Other Blue Devils earning recognition included redshirt junior safety Jeremy Cash (2nd team), redshirt senior offensive tackle Takoby Cofield (3rd team), junior kicker Ross Martin (3rd team), redshirt junior center Matt Skura (3rd team) and redshirt junior punter Will Monday (honorable mention).
Cash, a 6-2, 205-pound native of Miami, Fla., is the only defensive back in the nation to have amassed at least 100 tackles, 10-plus hits for lost yardage and five-plus sacks this season. He paces the Blue Devils with 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks while his 103 stops are good for the third most on the squad. In addition, his four forced fumbles are tied for the fifth-highest single-season total in program history. Cash has tallied seven or more tackles in 10 of 12 regular season games and ranks 13th among all active FBS players with 8.62 stops per game. He was one of 15 Thorpe Award semifinalists and was twice honored as the ACC Defensive Back of the Week this season (Oct. 13 and Sept. 29).
Cofield, a 6-4, 310-pound native of Tarboro, N.C., has helped Duke’s offensive line rank 11th nationally with 1.08 sacks allowed per game and third with just 3.33 tackles for loss allowed a contest. The strong line play has opened holes for the Blue Devils’ 390 points this year, the third most in a year in program history. The squad owns 24 rushing touchdowns and has surpassed 20 ground scores in consecutive years for the first time since 1994-95. Cofield was named the ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week on Sept. 22.
Crowder, a 5-9, 175-pound native of Monroe, N.C., ranks second in the ACC in receptions per game (6.5), third in receiving yards per game (78.5) and seventh in all-purpose yards per game (98.8) this season. In ACC history, he stands second in career receptions (268), tied for second in 100-yard games (15), third in receiving yards (3,539) and sixth in all-purpose yards (5,372). He paces Duke this year with 78 receptions for 942 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 12.08 yards per catch.
As a returner, Crowder ranks third in the ACC in punt return average (10.1). He ran back a punt 52 yards in the fourth quarter for the game-deciding touchdown at Syracuse. Crowder owns three punt returns of at least 20 yards this season, including two in the last four weeks. He was selected to participate in the Reese’s Senior Bowl and was named the ACC Specialist of the Week following the win over Syracuse on Nov. 10. Crowder has now earned All-ACC honors in each of the past three seasons.
Edwards, a 5-9, 175-pound native of Covington, Ga., earns All-ACC honors for the second straight year after being a third team return specialist pick a year ago. Edwards ranks second on the squad with 119 tackles and leads the way with 71 solo stops, nine pass breakups and four forced fumbles. He is tied for second among the Blue Devils with 6.5 tackles for lost yardage and 3.5 sacks. Edwards ranks third in the ACC and 15th nationally with 9.92 tackles per game and has tallied seven or more in every game this season. Edwards’ four forced fumbles this season are tied for the fifth most in a year in program history as he matched the Duke single-game record with two forced fumbles at Troy on Sept. 6. He is one of only two players, joining teammate Jeremy Cash, to rank in the ACC’s top 13 in fumbles forced per game (2nd), tackles per game (3rd) and passes defended per game (10th).
On kickoff returns, Edwards ranks second in the ACC and 23rd nationally with 25.42 yards per kickoff return. He was named the ACC Specialist of the Week after his 99-yard touchdown at Pittsburgh. He has returned two kickoffs 60 or more yards, tied for the third most among FBS players this season. Edwards owns three kickoff returns for touchdowns in his career, tied with Randy Jones (1990-93) for the most in Duke history.
Helton, a 6-4, 240-pound native of Chattanooga, Tenn., leads the ACC and ranks 15th nationally in tackles per game (10.42). In total tackles, he tops the league (125) and stands 11th nationally. He owns six games with double figure tackles in 2014 and is a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy. In Duke history, Helton ranks tied for 10th with 338 career tackles. He is a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete selection, making him a finalist for the Campbell Trophy, and earned first team CoSIDA Academic All-District honors.
Martin, a 5-9, 185-pound native of Solon, Ohio, is Duke’s career record holder in points (303), points after touchdowns (150) and consecutive PATs made (106). In ACC history, he ranks ninth in career extra points. This year, Martin leads Duke with 100 points and has converted all 46 PAT attempts. Martin is 18-for-20 in field goals and was a Lou Groza Award semifinalist. It is the third consecutive All-ACC selection for Martin as he was an honorable mention selection in 2012 and 2013.
Monday, a 6-4, 210-pound native of Flowery Branch, Ga., has averaged 43.4 yards per punt with 17 of his 56 punts downed inside the opponent 20-yard line and 12 traveling 50 yards or more. He ranks ninth in ACC history in punting average at 43.56 yards per boot. Monday was a Ray Guy Award candidate and the Ray Guy Award Player of the Week (Nov. 12). It is Monday’s third consecutive All-ACC honor as he was a first team choice in 2012 and a third team selection in 2013.
Skura, a 6-4, 305-pound native of Columbus, Ohio, has been the anchor of Duke’s offensive line for the last two years. This season, the offensive line ranks 11th among FBS programs with 1.08 sacks allowed per game and stands third with just 3.33 tackles for loss allowed a contest. Skura earned ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors following Duke’s win over Virginia.
Tomlinson, a 6-3, 330-pound native of Chicago, Ill., has started 51 consecutive games for the Blue Devils, matching the longest active streak in the country. Also a first team All-ACC pick in 2013, Tomlinson was selected to participate in the Reese’s Senior Bowl and was a CBSSports.com and Phil Steele Midseason All-American second team selection. He was also an Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award nominee and one of 11 student-athletes named to the FBS Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.