Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Biggest shoes to fill: Duke
By Heather Dinich
Our series continues today with the Blue Devils, who have to replace one of the most underrated players in the ACC from 2011:
OUT: S Matt Daniels. He led Duke and ranked third in the ACC in tackles per game (10.5), finishing the year with 126 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, two interceptions, 14 pass breakups and one caused fumble. He was the team leader in both interceptions and pass breakups. He was just one of three players in the ACC to average double figures in tackles. Some of his best games were against the best competition: Stanford (13), Florida State (14), Virginia Tech (13) and Miami (11). Daniels finished third in the league balloting for the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year. His 14 pass breakups were the second most in a single season in school history. His 126 tackles were the most for a Duke defensive back since Terrell Smith had 140 in 2003.
IN: Walt Canty and Brandon Braxton. Canty, a senior who started all 12 games at safety last year, was second on the team with 87 tackles and had 4.0 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, three caused fumbles, one quarterback pressure and one interception. He had a career-high 15 tackles against Virginia and finished the season with 7.2 tackles per game and tied for third in the ACC in caused fumbles per game with .25. Braxton moved from wide receiver to safety this spring. He caught 54 passes for 532 yards and one touchdown in two seasons on the offensive side of the ball. He also has 14 tackles in two seasons with Duke’s coverage units.