Ross Cockrell is both the statistical and vocal leader for Duke's defense. Credit: TAKAAKI IWABU
Duke CB Ross Cockrell, who leads the nation is total passes defended and pass breakups, was named the ACC defensive back of the week Monday after his performance last week against NC Central.
Cockrell, a redshirt junior, added two pass breakups and two interceptions against the Eagles, giving him nine total passes defended for the season, which ties him with Stanford's Jordan Richards for the highest in the nation. His second interception, which he took 32 yards for a touchdown, marked the second time he has scored this season (he returned a blocked field goal for a score against FIU in week one).
"I do enjoy scoring touchdowns," Cockrell said after the 54-17 win over NC Central. "On the second interception, everyone got up and blocked. It was a team effort."
Saturday was the second multi-interception game of Cockrell's career (the first was against Virginia in 2010), and his three picks through three game this year ranks him fourth in the nation (three other players have pulled in four). Last year, Matt Daniels led Duke with two interceptions—total. Cockrell also has 16 total tackles on the year, fourth-most on the team.
His presense, along with fellow veteran CB Lee Butler, is of critical importance for Duke, especially given the injuries that have ravished the safties.
"I'm glad they're there," head coach David Cutcliffe said. "I can't say enough about both of those young men."
The other ACC players of the week were Florida State DE Tank Carradine, Boston College LB Nick Clancy, Virginia Tech punt returner Kyshoen Jarrett, Florida State RB Chris Thompson, Georgia Tech OL Will Jackson and North Carolina RB Romar Morris (as a WR).