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Ross Cockrell, Will Monday and Conner Vernon
21 Blue Devils Named to Academic All-ACC Team
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 02/27/2013
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DURHAM, N.C. – Led by three first team All-ACC honorees – Ross Cockrell, Will Monday and Conner Vernon – Duke landed a league-high 21 selections on the 2012 52-man Academic All-ACC Football team announced by the conference office on Wednesday.  

In addition, Blue Devil quarterback Sean Renfree, who was honored with the Jim Tatum Award as the league’s top student-athlete, earned a spot on the team for the third straight year.

The 21 picks are a conference record for the academic team, bettering Duke’s 20 selections from 2011.

Cockrell and Renfree were two of 12 repeat picks from Duke, joining Brandon Braxton, Lee Butler, C.J. France, Dave Harding, David Helton, Dezmond Johnson, Brian Moore, Perry Simmons, Juwan Thompson and Laken Tomlinson.  Butler, Cockrell, Harding, Moore, Renfree and Simmons are three-time selections to the squad.

Also representing the Blue Devils were Kenny Anunike, Kyler Brown, Tony Foster, Ross Martin, Dwayne Norman, Sydney Sarmiento and Josh Snead.

Duke led all ACC schools with its 21 selections, followed by Clemson (6), N.C. State (5), Maryland (4), North Carolina (3), Virginia (3), Virginia Tech (3), Georgia Tech (2), Wake Forest (2), Boston College (1), Florida State (1) and Miami (1).

To be eligible for consideration, a student-athlete must have earned a 3.00 grade point average for the previous semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during his academic career. The league has selected an Academic All-ACC Football team every year since 1954.

Anunike, a defensive end from Galena, Ohio, led the Blue Devils in quarterback sacks in 2012 with 5.0 while adding 44 total tackles.  Braxton, a safety from Charlotte, N.C., who will transition back to wide receiver this spring, carded 38 tackles last season while Brown, a linebacker from Matthews, N.C., finished seventh on the team in tackles with 51 including a career-high 15 at Georgia Tech.

Butler, a cornerback from Anderson, S.C., had 31 tackles and led Duke in both punt return yards (187) and kickoff return yards (342) while Cockrell, a cornerback from Waxhaw, N.C., was an honorable mention All-America pick by Sports Illustrated after leading the conference in interceptions with five.

Foster, a cornerback from Burlington, N.C., posted 37 tackles, six pass breakups and one interception in his final season as a Blue Devil.  France, a linebacker from Columbus, Ga., was credited for 60 tackles last fall and received the Vincent Rey Award which is presented annually to the most outstanding linebacker on the team.

Harding, an offensive lineman from Orlando, Fla., was an honorable mention All-ACC choice as Duke ranked second in the conference in sacks allowed per passing attempt.  Helton, a linebacker from Chattanooga, Tenn., picked up 55 tackles including 2.5 tackles for loss while Johnson, a defensive end from Nashville, Tenn., was credited with 23 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 quarterback sacks.

Martin, a kicker from Solon, Ohio, was a first team Freshman All-America pick after setting a school single-season record for total points (106) while Monday, also a first team Freshman All-America selection, led the ACC in punting average at 44.6.  

Moore, a center from Coral Gables, Fla., started all 13 games at center and was honored with the Dan “Tiger” Hill Award as Duke’s top offensive lineman while Norman, a safety from Jacksonville, Fla., registered 60 tackles and matched the school single-game record with a pair of fumble recoveries at Florida State.  

Renfree, a quarterback from Scottsdale, Ariz., was Duke’s MVP after completing 297-of-441 (.673) passes for 3,113 yards with 19 touchdowns.  Sarmiento, a defensive tackle from Florence, S.C., logged 28 tackles including 3.5 tackles for loss.

Simmons, an offensive tackle from Raleigh, N.C., was an honorable mention All-ACC and second team Academic All-America pick in 2012.  Snead, a running back from Raleigh, N.C., rushed 99 times for 496 yards including a career-high 107 yards in Duke’s Belk Bowl appearance against Cincinnati.

Thompson, a running back from Fairburn, Ga., rushed for 352 yards while catching 24 passes for 128 yards.  Tomlinson, an offensive guard from Chicago, Ill., played a team-high 1,048 snaps in 2012 and helped Duke post the fifth-highest scoring average in school history.

A wide receiver from Miami, Fla., Vernon caught a school single-season record 85 passes for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns and closed his career as the ACC’s all-time leader in pass receptions (283), receiving yardage (3,749) and most consecutive games with at least one catch (48).