DURHAM, N.C. – Duke redshirt senior Perry Simmons was named the recipient of the 2013 Jim Tatum Award as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top senior football scholar-athlete, the league announced Thursday.
Simmons, a 6-5, 300-pound right tackle, is the second straight Duke player and sixth overall to receive the Tatum Award, following quarterback Sean Renfree who was the recipient in 2012. Simmons, also a two-time Academic All-America selection including first-team honors this year, owns a 3.83 grade point average as a civil engineering major.
With an ACC-leading active streak of 49 consecutive starts, Simmons has started every game of his Duke career and played over 3,600 snaps for the most of any active Blue Devil. He was an All-ACC third team selection by members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and the second Duke player to earn the Tatum Award and All-ACC honors in the same season (Chris Douglas, 2003).
This season Simmons has helped No. 20 Duke capture the ACC Coastal Division title and a berth to this Saturday’s ACC Championship game against No. 1 Florida State at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. The championship berth followed a school-record 10 victories for the Blue Devils, who defeated two ranked opponents, cracked the Associated Press top 25 for the first time since 1994, and are currently in the midst of an eight-game winning streak.
Simmons has helped pave the way for a Duke offense that averages 33.7 points and 422.2 total yards per game while scoring 24 rushing touchdowns and 23 passing touchdowns. The Blue Devils have given up just 14 sacks in 12 games for the third fewest in the ACC while averaging 179.9 rushing yards per game, which is the most in the David Cutcliffe era.
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 the1950s at both Maryland and North Carolina and believed strongly in the concept of the student-athlete. The 2013 Tatum Award will be presented at the ACC’s Night of Legends event which will be held Friday (6 p.m.) at the Charlotte Convention Center as part of the festivities held around the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game.