Triangle Sports Roundup – Thanksgiving Day Vol. I

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Duke center Okafor named ACC Freshman of the Week

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke center Jahlil Okafor was selected as the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Freshman of the Week as determined by a vote of a selected media panel and announced earlier in the week on Monday.

Okafor earns the award for the second consecutive week after helping guide the Blue Devils to a 3-0 week and a team title at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

Okafor averaged 14.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.3 steals per game in wins over No. 19 Michigan State, Temple and Stanford as the fourth-ranked Blue Devils improved to 5-0 on the year.

He opened the week with 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, two blocks and two assists against the Spartans.

The Chicago, Ill., native delivered 16 points, eight rebounds (seven offensive rebounds) and two blocks in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic semifinal win over Temple and capped the week with his first career double-double in the title game against Stanford.

Okafor had 10 points, 12 rebounds (six offensive rebounds) and a block to anchor Duke in the win over the Cardinal. He was named to the Coaches vs. Cancer All-Tournament Team, along with teammates Quinn Cook and Justise Winslow.

Okafor has scored in double figures in all five games this season and is averaging 15.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, while shooting 60.0 percent from the field. He ranked among the league leaders in scoring, rebounds, offensive rebounds, field goal percentage and blocks entering Wednesday’s game against Furman.

Updated: Okafor finished with a season-high 24 points, shooting 12-of-14 in a 93-54 win over the Paladins.

Three North Carolina Tar Heels recognized following road victory at Duke

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The North Carolina Tar Heels led the way with three selections when the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) announced its Football Players of the Week on Monday.

Tar Heels junior quarterback Marquise Williams was named the ACC Offensive Back of the Week for the second straight week and fourth time this season after leading the Tar Heels’ 45-20 win at then No. 25 Duke.

UNC junior Landon Turner was recognized as the Offensive Lineman of the Week, while freshman Nazair Jones earned Defensive Lineman of the Week honors.

Offensive Back – Marquise Williams, North Carolina, Jr., QB

Williams accounted for four touchdowns and had 374 total yards of offense in UNC’s 45-20 win at No. 25 Duke.

Williams completed 18 of 27 pass attempts for 276 yards and two touchdowns.

He also rushed 21 times for 98 yards and two touchdowns.

During the Duke game, Williams eclipsed the UNC single-season record for total offense and now has 3,499 total yards.

He also set the UNC single-season record for most touchdown responsibility with 32.

Offensive Lineman – Landon Turner, North Carolina, Jr., OG

Turner graded out at a career-best 96 percent and was UNC’s top performer in the win at No. 25 Duke.

He helped the Tar Heels rush for 315 yards, their highest total since 2012.

UNC had three players rush for 95 yards or more, including tailback T.J. Logan’s season-high 116 yards.

Turner posted 15 knockdown blocks and did not allow any sacks or any pressures on UNC’s quarterbacks.

Defensive Lineman – Nazair Jones, North Carolina, Fr., DT

Jones helped lead a defensive unit that played its best game of the season in UNC’s 45-20 win at No. 25 Duke.

Jones had 2.5 tackles for loss, forced a fumble, batted down a pass and had a team-high six tackles.

He forced a first-quarter fumble which was scooped up by teammate Tim Scott and returned for a touchdown.

Jones and the Tar Heels held Duke to just 67 yards in the first half in building a 28-7 lead.

Duke’s Crowder, Tomlinson accept Senior Bowl invitations

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke Blue Devils wide receiver Jamison Crowder and right guard Laken Tomlinson each accepted invitations to play in the 66th annual Reese’s Senior Bowl.

The pair has led Duke to the winningest two-year stretch in program history with 18 victories and the 2013 ACC Coastal Division championship.

This year’s game will kick off at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, January 20 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., and will be televised live by the NFL Network.

Crowder and Tomlinson will be the 22nd and 23rd Blue Devils to participate in the Senior Bowl, and the first since Conner Vernon in 2012.

It’s the fourth time Duke has had two in the Senior Bowl, joining Louis Allen and Paul Stephanz (1949), Wes Chesson and Leo Hart (1970) and Clarkston Hines and Chris Port (1989).

In 50 career games at Duke, Crowder caught 268 passes for 3,437 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Crowder enters Saturday’s regular season finale standing second in ACC history in career receptions and fourth in yards.

He trails only Vernon (283 receptions/3,749 yards) in Duke history in receptions and yards.

Crowder’s 22 TD catches are tied for the third most in Duke history and his 14 100-yard receiving games are tied for fifth on the ACC all-time chart and are second at Duke to Hines’ 17 such contests.

This season, Crowder leads the Blue Devils with 70 receptions and 840 yards.

His 70 catches are tied for the seventh most in a year in Duke history while the yards are the 13th most in a campaign.

The Monroe, N.C., product is second on the squad with five receiving touchdowns this year. Crowder was the ACC Specialist of the Week on Nov. 10 and earned ACC Receiver of the Week accolades on Nov. 3.

He was placed on the Paul Hornung Award Week 11 Honor Roll and was a Phil Steele Midseason All-ACC First Team selection.

Tomlinson has been the anchor of Duke’s offensive line, which has been one of the best in the country this year.

The unit ranks ninth among FBS programs with 1.00 sacks allowed per game and stands fourth with just 3.45 tackles for loss allowed a contest.

The Blue Devils’ 349 points this year are the fifth most in a year in program history. Tomlinson is tied for the FBS lead among active offensive linemen with 50 consecutive starts.

The Chicago product, who was born in Jamaica, is a 2014 Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award nominee and was one of 11 student-athletes named to the FBS Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

He was a Midseason All-American Second Team selection and a Phil Steele Midseason All-American.

Duke football earns record 13th Aca­demic Achieve­ment Award

DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke Blue Devils will share the American Football Coaches Asso­­ciation’s (AFCA) 2014 Aca­demic Achieve­ment Award to secure the program’s nation’s-best 13th such honor.

Duke registered a 100-percent graduation rate for members of its freshman football student-athlete class of 2007 to share the accolade with Northwestern, Notre Dame and Stanford.

The award will be presented at the President’s Kickoff Luncheon on Mon., Jan. 12 at the 2015 AFCA Convention in Louisville, Ky.

Duke also won or shared the award in 1981, 1984, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2003 and 2005.

This year’s award marks the seventh time the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) formula has been used to select the winner.

From 1981 to 2007, the award was presented based on a formula used by the College Football Association and AFCA.

Since 2008, the criteria for the AFCA’s Academic Achievement Award are based on the highest NCAA GSR, at least 15 students in the GSR cohort, and a Federal Graduation Rate of 75 percent or better.

Sixty-one other institutions will be recognized for graduating 75 percent or more of their football student-athletes. Thirteen of those institutions — Air Force, Arizona State, Army, Ball State, Central Florida, Miami (Fla.), Middle Tennessee State, Minnesota, Northern Illinois, Rice, South Carolina, UCLA and Wake Forest — achieved a rate of 90 percent or better.

The remaining 48 institutions are: Alabama, Arkansas, Boise State, Boston College, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Connecticut, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida State, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Kent State, Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette, Memphis, Miami (Ohio), Michigan, Mississippi State, Navy, Nebraska, Nevada, North Texas, Oregon State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, San Diego State, San Jose State, Syracuse, TCU, Temple, Toledo, Troy, USC, Utah State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington, Washington State, Western Kentucky and Wyoming.

The Academic Achievement Award was established by the College Football Association (CFA) in 1981.

The award recognized the CFA-member Football Bowl Subdivision institution with the highest graduation rate among members of its football team.

When the CFA disbanded in 1997, the AFCA stepped in to present the award and conduct a graduation rate survey that encompassed all members of the FBS.

The GSR is based on a six-year graduation window for student-athletes which is a change from the five-year window used by the CFA and AFCA.

The GSR was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes.

The GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate.

The GSR also accounts for midyear enrollees.

Under GSR calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing.

These outgoing transfers are passed to the receiving institution’s GSR cohort.

By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the GSR increases the total number of student-athletes tracked for graduation by more than 37 percent.

Academic Achievement Award Winners

1981:     Duke

1982:     Notre Dame

1983:     Notre Dame

1984:     Duke & Notre Dame

1985:     Virginia

1986:     Virginia

1987:     Duke

1988:     Notre Dame

1989:     Kentucky

1990:     Duke

1991:     Notre Dame

1992:     Boston College & TCU

1993:     Duke

1994:     Duke

1995:     Boston College, Duke & Wake Forest

1996:     Boston College, Duke & Vanderbilt

1997:     Duke

1998:     Northwestern

1999:     Duke

2000:     Syracuse

2001:     Notre Dame & Vanderbilt

2002:     Northwestern

2003:     Duke

2004:     Boston College & Northwestern

2005:     Duke & Northwestern

2006:     SMU

2007:     Northwestern & Notre Dame

2008:     Vanderbilt

2009:     Notre Dame & Miami (Fla.)

2010:     Northwestern & Rice

2011:     Boise State & Miami (Ohio)

2012:     Northwestern & Stanford

2013:     Georgia, Rice, Stanford & Tulane

Most Awards: Duke, 13; Notre Dame, 9; Northwestern, 8; Boston College, 4; Stanford, 3; Vanderbilt, 3; Rice, 2; Virginia, 2.

Most Honorable Mentions: Notre Dame, 24; Virginia, 24; Penn State, 23; Rice, 23; Boston College, 22; Vanderbilt, 21; Syracuse, 20; Wake Forest, 19.