1. Jeremy Cash, SENIOR, SAFETY
Last Week: 1
Cash has been so good this season that last week's performance against Boston College was somewhat of a step down even with an impressive 8 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one quarterback hurry, and one pass deflection. It's a testament to just how dominant #16 has been so far this season. He's the quarterback of the defense and he's going to be drafted rather highly when the NFL conducts business next Spring. In the interim, he's a guy who is moving all over the field and making plays when that happens.
2. Devon Edwards, SOPHOMORE, SAFETY
Last Week: 2
Edwards recorded nine stops agains the Eagles and made one of the more clutch stops in the game as a reverse was run down from behind. Had Edwards not caught up and stopped the BC runner, he had a lane to go a long way, if not all the way to the end zone. It also appears that teams are figuring out that it's a bad idea ot kick the ball to him.
3. Dwayne Norman, SENIOR, LINEBACKER
Norman is settling in well as the starting linebacker and led the team in tackles against Boston College. A former safety, Norman's speed and toughness are allowing him to not only disrupt plays in his zone, but also to shoot into the backfield and hurry (or at least hit) the quarterback several times per game.
4. A.J. Wolf, JUNIOR, DEFENSIVE LINEMAN
Last Week: 5
While the defensive backfield will continue to get a lot of the praise for the Blue Devils' success, it's the improvement up front that has been the major difference from a season ago. Both Wolf and Carlos Wray are not only holding the line, they are getting penetration into the opponents' backfield as well. Both he and Wray were at it again against Boston College, helping clog up the middle and providing the kind of push that forced several key stops.
5. Ross Martin, SENIOR, KICKER
Martin provided all the scoring against the Eagles, kicking three field goals including a long 53-yarder into a steady head wind coupled with rain. Martin has been perfect this season, converting all eight of his field goal attempts. It's hard to be much better than that.
6. Breon Borders, JUNIOR, CORNERBACK
Last Week: 3
Borders is clearly Duke's best defenisve back in coverage. However, some footing issues caused him to get beat on Boston College's lone score on the afternoon. The receiver had a step and as Borders tried to correct things, he fell and the receiver had an easy trot to the end zone. Other than that, Borders denied the ball in the limited times Boston College looked to throw.
7. Thomas Sirk, JUNIOR, QUARTERBACK
Last Week: 10
Sirk had struggled against Georgia Tech and Northwestern, but was much better against the Eagles on Saturday. He only completed 50 percent of his passes, but suffered through several drops and missteps by his receivers. One drop was by freshman T.J. Rahming on a ball that was perfectly thrown over the receivers shoulder and to a point where only the freshman would have been able to catch it. If Rahming hauls it in, you wonder if the game would have been remotely in doubt. Some of the running calls for Sirk were questionable (especially on the 4 down goal line stand by the defense), but overally there was a lot to like about the junior's week against what may be the nation's top defense.
8. Will Monday, SENIOR, PUNTER
Lask Week: 7
Monday had his usual strong day punting the ball until the fourth quarter when he shanked a rugby style punt for just 25 yards. It put Boston College within striking distance for the game winning field goal. Monday has been terrrific thorughout the season (along with Martin), so one attempt isn't going to do too much here.
9. Shaquille Powell, SENIOR, RUNNING BACK
Powell remains the team's strongest and steadiest runner, and he got some help from Jela Duncan this week as well. Neither Powell or any of other backs had much room against Boston College's defensive front and much of his contribution was in the blocking game.
10. Tinashe Bere, FRESHMAN, LINEBACKER
Last Week: 8
Bere got his second straight start against the Eagles and did nothing to earn a demotion of any kind. He was active in support of the run and in pass protection/rush as well. He finsihed wiht six stops on the afternoon and assisted on a crucial third down stop on 3rd and 1.