DURHAM, N.C. – Seven Duke football players were selected for membership in the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame’s Hampshire Honor Society. Representing Duke were Kenny Anunike, Brandon Braxton, Ross Cockrell, Dave Harding, Garett Patterson, Perry Simmons and Juwan Thompson.
Duke’s seven selections tied Boise State for the most of any FBS program. Duke has now placed at least four players on the NFF Hampshire Honor Society in three consecutive seasons. The seven Hampshire Honor Society citations come on the heels of an historic season for the Blue Devils, who won a school-record 10 games and the ACC Coastal Division and played in the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
The NFF Hampshire Honor Society is comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who maintained a cumulative 3.2 grade point average or better throughout their college careers. A total of 838 players from 267 schools qualified for membership in the society's eighth year, setting a new record for the number of members in the history of the program, which began in 2007.
“We continue to raise the bar each year for the number of student-athletes who qualify for membership in the Hampshire Honor Society,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “The Hampshire Honor Society plays an important role in highlighting that college football players clearly play a leadership role in the classroom as well as on the playing field. We congratulate each of these young men for their commitment to excellence.”
The honor is the second award presented to Simmons by the NFF this season, as the redshirt senior offensive tackle was also named an NFF Scholar-Athlete. Simmons, a civil engineering major, was one of just 15 players nationally to receive the NFF Scholar-Athlete award and also received Academic All-America recognition for the second straight year in 2013. A native of Raleigh, N.C., Simmons started 50 consecutive games at right tackle and was an All-ACC third team for the Blue Devils before suffering a season-ending knee injury in the Dr Pepper ACC Championship Game against No. 1 Florida State.
Anunike, a sixth-year senior defensive end, was Duke’s top defensive lineman, earning All-ACC second team honors in 2013. He was also named to the Academic All-District III team in 2013 after earning his undergraduate degree in biological anthropology and anatomy in December, 2012, and pursuing a master’s degree in liberal studies. A native of Galena, Ohio, Anunike logged 67 tackles in 2013, including a team-high 13.5 for loss and 6.0 sacks.
Braxton, a senior wide receiver, caught 39 passes for a career-high 361 yards and two touchdowns, including a career-long 75-yard touchdown catch against Pittsburgh. Braxton, who played in 46 career games at wide receiver and safety, will receive his undergraduate degree in cultural anthropology and theater.
Cockrell, a redshirt senior cornerback and two-year team captain, was among the top defensive backs in the ACC, receiving All-ACC first team honors for the second straight season after totaling 46 tackles, 13 pass breakups, three interceptions, one forced fumbles and 1.0 sack in 2013. A native of Waxhaw, N.C., Cockrell was also selected to the Academic All-District III team for the second straight year after earning his undergraduate degree in political science and pursuing his graduate degree in the same area. He concluded his Duke career as Duke’s all-time leader in pass breakups and passes defended and ranked sixth in interceptions.
Harding, a redshirt senior offensive guard and team captain, was also named to the Academic All-District III team for the second straight year in 2013. A native of Orlando, Fla., Harding was also the recipient of the prestigious AFCA Good Works Team award for his community service contributions. He was a fixture of the offensive line during his years at Duke, playing in 50 games with 41 starts at guard and center. He earned his undergraduate degree in political science and is pursuing his graduate degree in the same area.
Patterson, a redshirt senior cornerback, started every game of 2013 and played in every game of his Duke career. He totaled 27 tackles, four pass breakups and his first career interception, which came in Duke’s 13-10 victory at No. 16 Virginia Tech on Oct. 25. Patterson, who hails from Richmond, Va., received his undergraduate degree in sociology with a certificate in markets and management studies.
Thompson, a senior running back and team captain, capped his career by topping the 1,000-yard rushing mark for his career in 2013. He rushed for 1,244 yards and scored nine touchdowns on the ground during his four seasons and was also a three-time Academic All-ACC Football Team selection. In addition to his performance on the offensive side of the ball, Thompson was also named Duke’s Special Teams MVP in 2013.