Week Twelve's Top 12

The defense and special steams continue to pace the Blue Devils while the offense's balanced approach provides stability.

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. Cash is the only player to rank among the league’s top five in tackles per game (4th/9.40), passes defended per game (T-4th/1.20) and forced fumbles per game (1st/0.60). Duke’s famed bend but don’t break defense has has accounted for 14 interceptions or turnovers this season and the Ohio State transfer has factored into five of those.

2. Devon Edwards, SOPHOMORE, SAFETY
Last Week: 2

Mr. November continued his strong playa against Syracuse, but was overcome by a holding call that negated another return for points. It would have been a record breaking development as Edwards currently sits tied with Randy Jones for the all-time lead in kick off returns for touchdowns with three. Away from the kicking game, Edwards continues to eye a spot on the all-conference squad. He has recorded a team best seven pass breakups, second-best 48 solo stops and third-best 79 total tackles.

3. Jamison Crowder, SENIOR, RECEIVER
Last: 3

Crowder is getting healthier and his production is jumping because of it. The senior caught nine passes at Pittsburgh and Syracuse in back to back weeks. He’s now just 27 catches short of the all-time ACC record…and he may have as many as five games to do it if Duke can get back to Charlotte for the ACC Championship game. Outside of being the top receiving threat for Duke, Crowder helped the Blue Devils into the winner’s circle a week ago with a 59 yard punt return for touchdown to break a 10-10 tie at Syracuse.

Last Week: 4

After some initial adjustments, Helton has resumed his all-ACC performance level at linebacker - albeit at middle linebacker instead of the weak side position. The senior has recoded 13 stops per game over the last three contests, and leads the team with 94 on the season. All told, Helton leads the ACC with 10.44 stops per contest and is now No. 15 on the program’s all-time list with 307 career tackles.

Last Week: 6

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. The offensive line has been great as a unit and the unit’s leader gets a lot of credit. The Blue Devils have allowed just 4.0 sacks for 21 yards lost this season. The 4.0 sacks and 0.44 sacks per game are the fewest among FBS programs. Tomlinson, an Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award nominee, was also one of 11 student-athletes named to the FBS Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

Last Week: 5

Boone’s stats aren’t going to blow anyone away, until you look a bit deeper. The fifth year senior currently sits as the winningest quarterback in program history and is 18-1 as a regular season starter. Boone’s streak of consecutive passes without an interception came to an end last Saturday at Syracuse, when he threw one in the third quarter. He had gone 127 throws without a pick, good for the longest streak of his career and the sixth longest stretch in program history.

7. Ross Martin, JUNIOR, KICKER
Last Week: 9

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 36 straight contests. Martin has totaled 76 points (13 FG, 37 PAT) through nine games this season. Martin was recently named to the Lou Award semifinalist list.

Lask Week: 8

Monday enters the week as the ACC’s active leader in punting average (43.88) and is eighth on the ACC career punting average. He’s booted nine punts for 50 or more yards on the season. He’s helped Duke control the battle of field position this season. Monday was recently named a semifinalist for the 2014 Ray Guy Award.

9. Shaquille Powell, RUNNING BACK
Last Week: 7

He’s Duke’s most powerful, blue collar back and he seems to be freshest in the later parts of the game when the Blue Devils need to move the ball. In conference games he’s averaging 58.50 yards per contest and 5.70 yards a rush. Last week he was stopped behind the line for the first time all season (first negative rushing attempt).

Last Week: 10

The freshman remains the Blue Devils’ most explosive back, though the fireworks settled down after he torched Kansas for 245 yards. That performance still has the first year player from Charlotte leading all FBS players in yards per carry with a 9.22 mark. However, Wilson has shown himself to be a threat on swing passes out of the backfield as well. He’s second n the team with 713 all purpose yards, trailing only Jamison Crowder (902).

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