DURHAM, N.C. – Duke senior safety Matt Daniels earned first team All-ACC honors as announced Monday afternoon by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. Three other Blue Devils earned recognition with senior punter Alex King and junior wide receiver Conner Vernon garnering second team accolades while senior tight end Cooper Helfet received an honorable mention citation.
Daniels, a 6-1, 210-pound native of Fayetteville, Ga., is tops among ACC defensive backs and third overall in the league in tackles per game (10.5) after posting 126 total stops on the year. He added 4.0 tackles for loss, two interceptions , one caused fumble and 14 pass break-ups – the second-highest single-season PBU total in Duke history. Daniels, who finished his 46-game career with 324 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, 27 pass break-ups, four interceptions, seven caused fumbles and three fumble recoveries, is the first Blue Devil safety to earn first team all-league honors since Ray Farmer turned the trick in back-to-back seasons in 1994-95.
King, a 6-1, 210-pound native of Winston-Salem, N.C., punted 50 times for 2,104 yards and a 42.08 yards per kick average. Currently ranked third in the conference in punting average, King placed 17 boots inside the opponent 20 yard line against just four touchbacks. His season average is the ninth-best in school history.
Vernon, a 6-1, 195-pound native of Miami, Fla., earns second team recognition for the second straight season after posting 70 receptions for 956 yards and six touchdowns – all team bests. In 2011, Vernon matched the school single-season record for most games (9) with five or more catches while becoming the first player in ACC history to post multiple seasons with 70 or more receptions. Through three seasons, he has 198 catches for 2,675 yards and 13 touchdowns to rank second on Duke’s career charts in both receptions and yardage and tied for eighth in TDs.
Helfet, a 6-4, 240-pound native of Kentfield, Calif., picked up an honorable mention citation for the second year in a row after catching 43 passes for 395 yards and four touchdowns. Among Duke tight ends, his 43 grabs are the most since 1994 while matching the seventh-highest single-season total. Helfet finished his 23-game career with 77 catches for 775 yards and six touchdowns.