Duke, UNC both place four on all-ACC first team
Coastal Division-champion Duke placed a school-record 11 players on the 2013 all-ACC football teams, the conference announced Monday.
Junior linebacker Kelby Brown, sophomore safety Jeremy Cash, senior cornerback Ross Cockrell and junior wide receiver Jamison Crowder gave the Blue Devils four first-team selections for the first time since 1994.
Crowder was also a second team selection at specialist for his efforts as Duke’s punt returner, where he was joined by offensive guard Laken Tomlinson and defensive end Kenny Anunike.
Tight end Braxton Deaver, offensive tackle Perry Simmons, punter Will Monday and kickoff returner DeVon Edwards made third team, while placekicker Ross Martin received honorable mention honors.
The 11 selections surpasses the previous school record of 10 all-league citations by the 1995 Blue Devils.
North Carolina also put four players on the all-ACC first-team — junior tight end Eric Ebron, senior left tackle James Hurst, senior defensive end Kareem Martin and freshman punt returner Ryan Switzer. But senior safety Tre Boston (second team) was the only Tar Heel on the second or third team.
Receiver Quinshad Davis, center Russell Bodine, bandit Norkeithus Otis, cornerback Jabari Price and punter Tommy Hibbard received honorable mention.
Atlantic Division champion and nationally top-ranked Florida State — which faces Duke in the ACC championship game Saturday in Charlotte — placed 17 members on the squad, including seven first-team selections.
With the recent expansion to 14 conference teams, this was the first time that three teams were chosen. Voting was done by 65 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.
Boston College senior running back Andre Williams, who leads the nation and set an ACC single-season record with 2,102 rushing yards, was the only player who made the first team on all 65 ballots.
Crowder, who leads the ACC in receptions with 88 and has returned two punts for touchdowns this season, was the only player selected at multiple positions. A 5-9, 175-pound native of Monroe, Crowder set a school record for receptions in a season and is just 18 yards shy of tying Duke’s single-season record for receiving yards (1,149).
Brown, a 6-2, 230-pound native of Matthews, ranks second in the ACC with 9.2 tackles per game, while Cash, a 6-2, 210-pound native of Miami, Fla., ranks third with 9.1 tackles per game and is tied for fourth with four interceptions.
This is the second straight all-ACC first team nod for Cockrell, a 6-0, 185-pound native of Waxhaw. This season he has amassed a team-leading 12 pass breakups with three interceptions on the way to breaking Duke’s all-time passes defended and pass breakup records.
UNC also had four first-teamers last year, but Giovani Bernard, Jonathan Cooper, Kevin Reddick and Sylvester Williams all went on to the NFL after the 2012 season.
This year’s group includes three who will go pro — Hurst, Martin and Ebron, a junior who set school records for catches and receiving yards by a tight end and announced his future plans last week. But Switzer became the first true freshman from UNC to earn first-team all-ACC honors since Amos Lawrence in 1977.
Switzer tied an NCAA record by returning punts for touchdowns in three games, and his four total punt returns for touchdowns tied the single-season conference record.
N.C. State, which went winless in the ACC, did not have a player on the conference’s three teams.