People are beginning to notice the defense for Duke football. The ACC has handed out its weekly honors and a Blue Devil defender has made the list. Safety Jaylen Stinson is the conference’s Defensive Back of the Week for his performance against Northwestern.
More than a one-hit wonder
Stinson is going to be best remembered for his bone-jarring hit on Northwestern running back Evan Hull that forced a fumble just shy of the goal line in the fading seconds of Saturday’s game. Teammate Brandon Johnson fell on the loose ball to give the Blue Devils their second win of the season. But Stinson did so much more than just that hit. He seemed to be everywhere Saturday and when you look at the final stats, he probably was. The junior from Opelika, Alabama was credited with eleven tackles and also had a pass breakup-one of fourteen by the Duke defense. It was his first game with double digit tackles and first forced fumble of his career.
For the last two seasons, Stinson has been better known as a kick returner for the Blue Devils. He has been named their special teams player of the year in each of the last two seasons. Stinson has two career kickoff returns for touchdowns and was Honorable Mention All-ACC in 2021.
It’s not the size of the dog in the fight
At just 5’8” and 173 pounds, Stinson is one of the smaller safeties you’ll find among Power 5 schools. But it is obvious by the hit he put on the much bigger Hull, who outweighs him by over thirty-five pounds, he plays much bigger than what he is. After making only five starts before this season, he is making the most of his opportunity as a full-time starter. Having a guy like him helping to lock down the back end is one of the reasons we are seeing a resurgence of the Duke defense.
Stinson and his Blue Devil teammates will look for their third straight win when they take on North Carolina A&T this Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium. Game time is set for 6 p.m. and will be carried by ESPN-plus.