Brown & Deaver granted 6th yrs of eligibility

Duke will return a pair of preseason all-ACC performers next season the program announced on Monday.

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke linebacker Kelby Brown and tight end Braxton Deaver each have been granted extension of eligibility requests by the NCAA. Based on the ruling, both student-athletes are eligible to participate in the 2015 football season.

Neither Brown nor Deaver has played for the Blue Devils this year, which was scheduled to serve as the fifth season of eligibility for both student-athletes. Brown suffered a torn left anterior cruciate ligament on August 11 while Deaver endured a torn right anterior cruciate ligament on August 18.

Brown, a 6-2, 230-pound native of Matthews, N.C., had been named to the 2014 preseason watch lists for the Butkus Award, Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award and Rotary Lombardi Award prior to suffering his season-ending injury. A first team All-ACC selection in 2013, Brown ranked second in the league with 8.77 tackles per game while adding 11.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 quarterback sack, two interceptions, two caused fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two pass breakups and eight QB pressures.

“I took a couple of weeks, probably a month, for some time to heal,” said Brown, who reached the decision when travelling back to school from Charlotte following Duke’s open date the weekend of October 4. “My inclination was to not play again. I spent a lot of time with Braxton and we helped each other through the process. Coach Cutcliffe was amazing throughout the entire time; he helped me find joy in the decision. He didn’t pressure me either way. He just gave me practical advice. It is the right decision.”

Brown has overcome two surgeries on his right knee since arriving at Duke with procedures in December of 2010 and February of 2012. He missed the entire 2012 campaign while recovering from the latter surgery.

In 32 career games at Duke, Brown has amassed 242 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 quarterback sacks, 15 QB pressures, two interceptions, six fumble recoveries, three caused fumbles and five PBUs. He graduated from Duke in June of 2014 with a degree in evolutionary anthropology while posting a cumulative grade point average of 3.729 and is currently enrolled in Duke’s School of Divinity.

A preseason All-ACC pick and Mackey Award watch list member entering the season, Deaver, a 6-5, 240-pound native of Charlotte, N.C., was a third team All-ACC choice in 2013 after posting 46 receptions for 600 yards and four touchdowns, all totals that ranked second among league tight ends. Deaver had multiple receptions in every game in 2013, including six for a career-high 116 yards in Duke’s 52-48 loss to No. 20 Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl to earn a spot on ESPN’s All-Bowl Team.

“I was pretty unsure about (the decision) when I got injured,” Deaver said. “Mentally and emotionally, I wasn’t really there; it was something I really had to think about. As I started to recover, I became more clear-headed about the whole situation, and after looking at my options, it was a no-brainer. I’ll be starting graduate school in the spring, and what better way to get healthy – physically, mentally and emotionally – than with my family. This place has had the biggest influence on who I am.”

Deaver missed the 2012 season following three surgeries on January 9 (torn left ACL), June 14 (left thumb fracture) and July 10 (left patella fracture).

In 26 career games at Duke, he has caught 54 passes for 707 yards and four touchdowns. He is scheduled to graduate from Duke in December of 2014 with a degree in sociology and begin pursuit of a Master’s of Arts in Liberal Studies degree in January of 2015.

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