The Tatum Award is given annually in memory of the late Jim Tatum to the top senior student-athlete (in athletic eligibility) among the league’s football players. Tatum, a two-time ACC Coach of the Year, coached in the 1950s at both Maryland and North Carolina and believed strongly in the concept of the student-athlete.
The 2014 Tatum Award will be presented at the ACC’s Night of Legends event, which will be held Friday (5:30 p.m.) at the Charlotte Convention Center as part of the festivities held around the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game.
Helton, a Psychology major who holds a 3.64 career grade point average, is one of 17 recipients of the prestigious 2014 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Awards and a finalist for the NFF’s Campbell Trophy as the top football scholar-athlete in the nation. Helton was also named a Lott IMPACT Trophy finalist on Wednesday.
“David epitomizes the true student-athlete, and we couldn’t be prouder of him as the recipient of the 2014 Tatum Award,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said. “His core values, instilled in him by his incredible parents, are what make him as fine a young man as we’ve had in our program. This is a tremendous honor for David and his family.”
The Chattanooga, Tennessee, native was named to the All-ACC Football Academic Team each of his first three seasons (with this year’s selections still pending) and is also a three-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll. He earned first-team Capital One Academic All-District III accolades in both 2013 and 2014, and is among 10 national semifinalists for the 2014 Lott IMPACT Trophy.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior played a key role in Duke posting a 9-3 overall record and is a major reason the Blue Devils are headed to a bowl game for a school-record third straight season. An All-ACC first-team selection, Helton leads the ACC in tackles with 10.4 per game and keys a Duke defensive unit that ranks fifth in the conference is scoring defense (20.6 points per game).
Helton is the third consecutive Duke student-athlete to receive the Tatum Award after Blue Devil quarterback Sean Renfree was honored in 2012 and offensive lineman Perry Simmons was recognized last year.
ACC Jim Tatum Award Winners
1979 Scott Hamilton, Duke, G
1980-81 No Award
1982 Pat Chester, Virginia, S
Phil Denfield, Wake Forest, TE
1983-84 Not Available
1985 Kevin Anthony, North Carolina, QB
1986 David Cardenas, Virginia, DB
1987-89 Not Available
1990 Charlie Cobb, NC State, C
1991 Steve Ainsworth, Wake Forest, OL
1992 Not Available
1993 Thomas Burns, Virginia, LB
1994 Ed Glenn, Clemson, TE
1995 Russell Babb, North Carolina, OT
1996 Daryl Bush, Florida State, DB
1997 Stephen Phelan, Virginia, DB
Jonathan Claiborne, Maryland, S
1998 Ebenezer Ekuban, North Carolina, DE
1999 Noel LaMontagne, Virginia, G
2000 Louis Marchetti, North Carolina, OT
2001 Kyle Young, Clemson, C
2002 Jeremy Muyres, Georgia Tech, DB
2003 Chris Douglas, Duke, RB
2004 Nick Novak, Maryland, PK
2005 Brendan Dewan, Duke, LB
David Castillo, Florida State, C
2006 Josh Wilson, Maryland, DB
2007 Tom Santi, Virginia, TE
2008 Darryl Richard, Georgia Tech, DT
2009 Riley Skinner, Wake Forest, QB
2010 Christian Ponder, Florida State, QB
2011 Danny Coale, Virginia Tech, WR-P
2012 Sean Renfree, Duke, QB
2013 Perry Simmons, Duke, OT
2014 David Helton, Duke, LB