- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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No. 18 Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke
2012 stats: Cockrell had a breakout season, ranking No. 3 in the ACC in passes defended and tied for first with five interceptions to make his way onto both media and coaches' All-ACC first team.
Previous ranking: NR.
Making the case: Cockrell has started every single game he has played at Duke, and it was this season that we saw him begin to reach his potential. Going into the year, Cockrell had four total interceptions in two seasons. He beat that in 13 games in 2012. Cockrell ended up finishing the season with a team-leading 13 pass breakups, ranking him tied for fourth on Duke’s single-season list. He now has 29 career pass breakups to rank sixth on the school’s all-time chart. Cockrell also scored twice -- on an interception return against N.C. Central and a blocked field goal return against FIU. Though the Blue Devils' secondary struggled down the stretch, Cockrell was its one consistent player. Given his progress, he goes into 2013 as one of the top cornerbacks in the ACC.
3dDavid M. Hale
4dDavid M. Hale