1. Jeremy Cash, JUNIOR, SAFETY
Last Week: 1
Cash is one of 15 semifinalists for the Thorpe Award, an honor presented to the nation’s top defensive back. A second team All-America pick last year, Cash has compiled 63 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two INTs, three caused fumbles, four PBUs, four QB pressures and one fumble recovery. He’s the heart and soul of the defense’s five safeties and has helped secure the bend but don’t break approach.
2. Devon Edwards, SOPHOMORE, SAFETY
Last Week: 4
Edwards is third on the team with 62 tackles, owns a squad-high seven pass breakups and a team second-best 36 solo hits. Edwards enters the week seventh in the ACC in tackles per game with 8.86, fifth in the league in fumbles forced and tied for fifth in the conference in passes defended per game with 1.14. Teamed with Cash, Edwards has helped Duke lock down the final third of the field.
3. David Helton, SENIOR, LINEBACKER
Last Week: 3
Helton made 14 tackles against Virginia on Oct. 18. Helton leads Duke with 69 stops this season. He owns eight career games, all in the last two years, with 10 or more tackles. Helton has adjusted well and has now settled in at middle linebacker after playing WLB over the last several seasons. Helton enters this week’s action third in the ACC with 9.90 tackles per game.
4. Jamison Crowder, SENIOR, RECEIVER
Still the most dynamic threat on the Blue Devil offensive unit, Crowder has benefitted from the other weapons stepping up and Duke’s utilization of the ground game as well. The senior has seen his production slow a bit, but it’s because Duke is more balanced. Crowder caught eight passes against Virginia to increase his career total to 238. He enters this week’s game ranked third in ACC history for career receptions, just two grabs shy of a tie for second. rowder became the third Duke receiver to reach 3,000 yards with 99 against Virginia on Oct. 18.
5. Anthony Boone, SENIOR, QUARTERBACK
Last Week: 7
Sure he’s acquired the label as a game manager, but that’s hardly a negative connotation. In the regular season Boone is 16-1 as a starter at Duke. With the loss of the Brandon Connette, Boone has begun to run a lot more on offense. Thomas Sirk is still the preferred goal line option, but Boone has shown continued ability to utilize QB option reads. The Duke signal caller is still looking to maintain consistency throughout the entirety of the game, but it’s hard to argue with his overall record.
6. Laken Tomlinson, SENIOR, OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
Last Week: 8
Tomlinson remains one of the more powerful and consistent players on the roster, and will likely be the highest player taken from the roster in the NFL Draft. He leads an O-line unit that has allowed only 4.0 sacks on the season, tied for the fewest among FBS programs in sacks per game. Additionally the line has surrendered just 20 negative plays on ht season. Tomlinson is tied for the second longest current streak of consecutive games started among active NCAA FBS linemen with 46.
7. Will Monday, JUNIOR, PUNTER
Lask Week: 6
Monday enters the week as the ACC’s active leader in punting average (43.79) and is eighth on the ACC career punting average. He’s booted eight punts for 50 or more yards on the season. He’s helped Duke control the battle of field position this season and has
8. Ross Martin, JUNIOR, KICKER
Last Week: 8
It’s hard to argue with perfection, which is what Martin has achieved this season. The junior kicker has hit all of his field goals and all of his extra points. Martin is already the program’s career leader in points and has converted at least one point in 34 straight contests.
9. THE STABLE, RUNNING BACK
Last Week: NR
For the entirety of the season we’ve ranked various backs in the top 10. The problem is actually Duke’s strength…there are four backs would can break out at any given time. Shaun Wilson got all the early season publicity after running all over Kansas, but Joshua Snead, Shaquille Powell, and now Joseph Ajeigbe have also done well. Most recently, Ajeigbe turned in a career-best performance at Georgia Tech with a personal-high 53 ground yards and Powell returned from an injury against Virginia and ran for a career-high 68 yards, all in the second half.
10. MAX MCCAFFREY, JUNIOR, WIDE RECIEVER
Last Week: 10
During his first year as a slot receiver, McCaffrey has established himself as a reliable second option for Boone and the offense. He’s second on the team in receiving catches (25) and yards (253) and touchdowns (3).