Both Daniels and Ward excelled at Duke, earning All-America honors as two of the most talented athletes in their sports. The pair joins a long line of Duke student-athletes who have been recognized by the institution for pairing athletic success with excellence in the classroom. Both Daniels and Ward were also recipients of Weaver-James-Corrigan ACC Postgraduate Scholarships with Daniels earning the honorary scholarship.
"Both Becca Ward and Matt Daniels are outstanding choices for the Duke Student-Athletes of the Year," said Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White. "During their exceptional four years at Duke, they excelled in three critical areas -- in competition, in the classroom, and in the community. Both represent, and have embodied, the total student-athlete experience that we hope to provide the young men and women who make the 'Duke Decision.' Becca and Matt represent their families, their university, and most importantly themselves, in an impeccable manner."
Daniels, a 6-1, 210-pound safety, had one of the finest seasons by a defensive player in Duke football history as a senior. As the anchor of Duke's defense, Daniels amassed 126 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, 14 pass breakups, two interceptions and one forced fumble. His performance earned him second team All-America recognition by the Walter Camp Foundation, first team All-ACC honors and a spot in the annual East-West Shrine Game.
A native of Fayetteville, Ga., Daniels closed out his 46-game career with 324 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, four interceptions, 31 pass breakups and seven forced fumbles. He made 36 consecutive starts and ranks 13th at Duke in career tackles, tied for fourth in pass breakups and tied for third in forced fumbles. He is the third Duke defensive back to earn All-America recognition and signed a contract to play with the St. Louis Rams in the National Football League. Daniels will be a four-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll and will graduate from Duke with a degree in public policy.
Ward ended her career as one of the most decorated student-athletes in Duke history. She became the first Blue Devil to win three individual NCAA Championships, capturing the 2009, 2011 and 2012 women's saber titles. A native of Portland, Ore., she posted an incredible 272-7 career record and lost just one bout as a senior.
A four-time All-America choice, Ward also owns two bronze medals that she won at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing with the USA Fencing Team. In addition to her ACC Postgraduate Scholarship, Ward also received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. A Public Policy major pursuing a certificate in Energy and the Environment, Ward earned Capital One Academic All-District III honors as a junior and will be a four-time selection to the ACC Academic Honor Roll.