Duke linebackers Kelby Brown and David Helton were named to the 2014 Lott IMPACT Trophy watch List, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation announced Wednesday. The award honors the top defensive player in college football who makes the biggest impact on his team on and off the field.
Helton, a senior, and Brown, a redshirt senior, were the top two tacklers in the ACC last season and enter 2014 as the anchors of a Duke defense that returns six starters. Helton was the league’s top tackler, amassing 133 tackles and 9.5 per game, while Brown finished second in the league with 114 stops at 8.8 per game.
A 6-4, 235-pound native of Chattanooga, Helton started all 14 games for Duke in 2013 and amassed at least seven tackles in every game. He logged a career-high 19 stops in Duke’s 13-6 win at No. 16 Virginia Tech on Oct. 26 and totaled 11 – including nine solo stops – in the 52-48 loss to No. 21 Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. He was an Academic All-District III selection in 2013.
IMPACT is an acronym for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity. Duke was one of only five schools with multiple players on the watch list, joining Nebraska, Stanford, UCLA and Washington. The ACC had seven total selections, trailing only the Pac-12 (12) and SEC (8) for the most players on the list.
“We continually strive to honor those young men who embrace the characteristics of Ronnie Lott and everything he stands for,” Said John Hamilton, chairman of the Board of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, sponsors of the Lott IMPACT Trophy. “Once again, we have a group of student-athletes who we believe live up to those very high standards and we look forward to watching them grow their already impressive resumes this fall.”
The winner will be announced at the annual Lott IMPACT Trophy Banquet Dec. 14 at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach. Last year’s winner was Anthony Barr of UCLA.