3 from Duke, 1 from UNC earn preseason all-America football honors
Redshirt sophomore safety and kickoff returner DeVon Edwards, redshirt senior offensive guard Laken Tomlinson and senior wide receiver Jamison Crowder were named to Phil Steele’s 2014 Preseason All-American Team, the publication announced Friday. Additionally, eleven Blue Devils, including first team selections Crowder and Tomlinson, were named to Phil Steele’s Preseason All-ACC Team.
UNC punter Tommy Hibbard was named to the third team.
Edwards and Tomlinson appeared on Steele’s All-America second team, while Crowder was a fourth team pick. The citations come on the heels of a 2013 season in which Edwards was named to the Walter Camp, Sports Illustrated and Athlon Sports All-America teams as a kickoff returner, and Crowder was picked to the FWAA and Sports Illustrated All-America teams as a punt returner. Tomlinson, meanwhile, was an All-ACC first team pick by the league’s coaches following the 2013 season in which Duke went 10-4, won the ACC Coastal Division and played in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
Steele also tabbed Crowder and Tomlinson to his Preseason All-ACC first team along with redshirt senior linebacker Kelby Brown and redshirt junior safety Jeremy Cash. Brown and Cash were key components of a Duke defense that forced 26 turnovers in 2013 and held opponents to just 4.6 points in the fourth quarter. Cash was a USA Today All-America second team pick this past season, while Brown received All-ACC first team recognition from the league’s media.
Representing Duke on the Preseason All-ACC second team were redshirt senior tight end Braxton Deaver, senior linebacker David Helton, redshirt junior punter Will Monday, Edwards and Crowder, with Edwards and Crowder picked to the squad as kickoff returner and punt returner, respectively. Deaver was among the top three tight ends in the ACC as a redshirt junior and earned All-ACC third team recognition. Helton, meanwhile, led the ACC in tackles (133) and tackles per game (9.5), while Monday was an All-ACC second team pick by the league’s media. Edwards scored two kickoff return touchdowns, covering 100 and 99 yards, while Crowder scored twice on punt returns with distances of 82 and 76 yards.
Redshirt senior quarterback Anthony Boone, who enters his senior season 8-2 in his career as a starter, was tabbed to Steele’s Preseason All-ACC third team after guiding the Blue Devils to the ACC Coastal Division Crown in his first season as Duke’s primary signal caller. Boone’s blindside blocker, redshirt senior left tackle Takoby Cofield, was picked to the Preseason All-ACC fourth team after starting every game the past two seasons for the Blue Devils.
Those 11 Preseason All-ACC picks make up the bulk of Duke’s 17 returning starters from the 2013 squad. The Blue Devils bring back eight returning starters on offense and six on defense from last season’s ACC squad, which qualified for a bowl for the second straight season. Duke opens the 2014 campaign against Elon on Aug. 30 at Wallace Wade Stadium. To order tickets, call (919) 681-BLUE or visit www.GoDuke.com/footballtix.
North Carolina players named to the all-ACC team include first-team punter Hubbard and punt returner Ryan Switzer, second-team quarterback Marquise Williams, bandit linebacker Norkeithus Otis and wide receiver Quinshad Davis, third-team linebackerTravis Hughes and fourth-team running back T.J. Logan, safety Tim Scott, kick returner Logan and offensive guard Laon Turner.