Durham, N.C. -- Less than one year after earning first team all-state honors as a senior at the Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tenn., David Helton found himself in the thick of ACC gridiron competition with the Blue Devils. After sitting out Duke’s season-opener, Helton picked up his first playing time as a collegian in week two versus Stanford.
came to Duke ready to compete for playing time,” said Duke assistant
defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Jim Collins.
Helton carded the first sack of his Blue Devil career in the seventh game of the year versus Wake Forest, and was inserted into the starting lineup in week 10 at Virginia. He responded with seven tackles against the Cavaliers, and one week later against Georgia Tech, posted a season-high nine total stops.
This spring, Helton, who earned a spot on the Academic All-ACC team after totaling 25 tackles during the 2011 season, has practiced exclusively with the first unit, much to the delight of Duke head coach David Cutcliffe.
“Now somewhat of a veteran, David is a fiercely competitive, intense, focused young man,” Cutcliffe said. “Football is very important to him and his future is very bright.”