Last week, the ACC released the 2014 Preseason All-ACC Team. Four Blue Devils, consisting of linebacker Kelby Brown, safety Jeremy Cash, wide receiver Jamison Crowder and offensive guard Laken Tomlinson were named to the team.
The only other team with more player nominations than Duke was the reigning national champion Florida State, which had nine players make the cut.
Last season, Crowder was named All-America second team for his special teams work as a punt returner. For this season’s Preseason All-ACC Team, he got the most votes among wide receivers. He has been named to the watch list of several awards: the Biletnikoff, Walter Camp, Maxwell and Hornung Awards. Crowder will be one of the main men to watch this season, as he returns as the conference’s active leader in both receiving yards and receptions. Last season he tallied an ACC-record of 108 receptions for 1,360 yards with eight touchdowns. He also added one rushing touchdown, two punt returns for touchdowns and averaged 16.04 yards per punt return.
Cash is making a name for himself as well. He’s on three preseason watch lists for different awards: the Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy and Jim Thorpe Award. Last season, he totaled 121 tackles with 9.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, four pass breakups, two forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles. His 121 tackles placed him at the second highest tackle total for the conference, just trailing Duke’s David Helton. Like Crowder, Cash also was named to second team All-America in 2013.
Brown is on the preseason watch lists for some of the same awards as Cash. They are both up for the Nagurski Trophy and the Bednarik Award. Brown is also on the preseason watch list for the Butkus Award and the Rotary Lombardi Award. In 2012 Brown had to sit out the entire season due to a knee injury, but he bounced back in no time during the 2013 season. He averaged 8.8 tackles per game on the year, adding 11 tackles for loss, one quarterback sack, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two pass breakups and eight quarterback pressures.
In 2013, Tomlinson was the rock that held everything together for the Duke offensive line. He helped the offense break several school single season records for total first downs (298), offensive yards (5,966) and points (459).