Redshirt junior Ross Cockrell had a game to remember Saturday against N.C. Central. Monday, the ACC acknowledged his skills by naming him the ACC Defensive Back of the Week.
Cockrell recorded six tackles on the night, broke up two passes and twice intercepted Eagles’ quarterback Jordan Reid, the latter of which took 32 yards the other way for a touchdown.
“Both times the quarterback was rolling out because you got pressure up the middle and around the edge and…. I was fortunate enough to read his eyes and break on the ball,” Cockrell said following the game.
Three games into the season, Cockrell is fourth on the team in tackles with 16 and has recorded a team-high six pass breakups and three interceptions. He’s the only Blue Devil with an interception this season and has more than half of Duke’s total pass breakups.
Cockrell’s progress this season is evident in his statistics. Last season he didn’t record his first interception until the final game of the season, intercepting North Carolina’s Bryn Renner. He only defended nine total passes in 2011 and no Blue Devil intercepted three balls all of last season.
The Waxhaw, N.C. native’s stats also stand out compared to the nation’s top defensive backs. Cockrell is tied for first nationally in both passes defended and passes broken up, and third in interceptions. Cockrell has also moved into a tie for ninth place on Duke’s all-time pass breakups list, now having recorded 22 in his career.