DURHAM, N.C. – Duke senior linebacker David Helton was named the recipient of the 2014 Jim Tatum Award as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top senior football scholar-athlete, the league announced Thursday.
Helton, a 6-4, 240-pound linebacker, becomes the third straight Duke player and seventh overall to receive the Tatum Award, following quarterback Sean Renfree (2012) and offensive lineman Perry Simmons (2013).
Helton, who owns a 3.64 grade point average as a psychology major, was selected as a National Football Foundation (NFF) Scholar-Athlete and is a finalist for the NFF’s William V. Campbell Trophy that honors the top football student-athlete in the nation. Additionally, he is a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and a three-time Academic All-ACC Football Team selection.
The Chattanooga, Tenn., product was named to the All-ACC first team by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association earlier this week. Helton leads the ACC and ranks 15th nationally in tackles per game (10.42). In total tackles, he tops the league (125) and stands 11th nationally. He owns six games with double figure tackles in 2014 and is now tied for 10th in Duke history with 338 career tackles. Among active FBS players, Helton is tied for 12th in total tackles with 338 and ranks second in assisted stops with 215.
Helton’s performance has helped Duke to its most successful two-season win total in school history with 19. The Blue Devils also own the winningest three-season stretch in program history with 26. This year’s squad has won nine games after last season’s 10-win performance, giving the program its first consecutive campaigns with nine or more victories.
The Tatum Award is given annually in memory of the late Jim Tatum to the top senior student-athlete (in athletic eligibility) among the league's football players. Tatum, a two-time ACC Coach of the Year, coached in the 1950s at both Maryland and North Carolina and believed strongly in the concept of the student-athlete.
The 2014 Tatum Award will be presented at the ACC’s Night of Legends event which will be held Friday (5:30 p.m.) at the Charlotte Convention Center as part of the festivities held around the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game.