College Sports

College Note: Duke football's Crowder wins punt return award

Duke punt returner Jamison Crowder received yet another postseason award Thursday as the winner of the College Football Performance Awards Elite Punt Returner Trophy. The accolade goes to the player deemed to have contributed the greatest team success on punt returns over the last two seasons of college football.

Crowder, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound senior, tallied 22 punt returns for 280 yards and two touchdowns in 2014. His two biggest punt returns occurred against Syracuse and No. 15 Arizona State in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. Versus the Orange, he carded a season-high 106 punt return yards, including a 52-yard return for a touchdown to snap a tie at 10 early in the fourth quarter and lead Duke to a 27-10 triumph. In the bowl game against the Sun Devils, Crowder posted a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown late in the second quarter that made it a 20-17 Duke deficit at the half.

During the 2013 campaign, Crowder returned 25 punts for 401 yards and a pair of scores. He totaled more than 100 punt return yards against N.C. Central (113) and Pittsburgh (109). His punt return average of 36.33 yards (three returns for 109 yards) against Pittsburgh marked the second-highest single-game total in school history, trailing only George Clark’s standard of 39.67 yards (three returns for 119) versus Wake Forest in 1944. Crowder’s two punt returns for touchdowns came against N.C. Central (76 yards) and Pittsburgh (82 yards) as he became just the third player in Duke history to register two punt returns for touchdowns in the same season, joining Elmore Hackney (1937) and Jay Wilkinson (1961).

In his career, Crowder totaled 65 punt returns for 869 yards (13.37 yards per return) and the four touchdowns. He finished second in Duke history in punt return yards, punt return average and punt returns and holds the top spot for most punt returns for touchdowns.

Already this postseason, Crowder was named first team All-ACC as a wide receiver and return specialist and earned a spot on the CBSSports.com All-Bowl Team as a punt returner.

Crowder will represent Duke at the 66th annual Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. This year’s game will kick off at 4 p.m. on Jan. 24 and be televised by the NFL Network.

Women’s Basketball

N.C. State: The recruiting class of 2015 for N.C. State is lauded, earning a No. 16 ranking by ESPN. Five of N.C. State’s six incoming recruits have been nominated to play in the 2015 McDonald’s High School All-American game on April 1 at the United Center.

Rydeiah Rogers, Amber Richardson, Kaila Ealey, Jonquanae Cole, and Lena Niang all were tabbed by the game’s organizing committee as nominees to make the final roster. On Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. ET, the final roster will be announced on Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.

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