JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Sharks and the Arena Football League announced Tuesday that Jacksonville defensive back Tracy Belton has been named the Riddell Defensive Player of the Week for Week 6 of the 2013 AFL season. Belton earned this award for his outstanding performance in the Sharks' 55-53 road win over the Philadelphia Soul last Saturday night.
Belton put together an outstanding all-around performance against Philadelphia, and his impact started in the first quarter. With the Sharks ahead 7-6 midway through the first, Soul receiver Alvance Robinson caught a pass inside the red zone. Hustling on the play, Belton tracked down Robinson, stripped the ball away, recovered the loose fumble and returned it for 13 yards to give the Jacksonville offense good field position.
On the first play from scrimmage of the second half, Belton struck again, this time stripping the ball from Soul wideout Tiger Jones to force a fumble that was recovered by Terrance Smith. This proved to be a pivotal turnover, as the Sharks held just a 28-26 lead at halftime.
Belton impressed in pass coverage as well, as he kept tight coverage throughout the game and recorded two pass breakups. Belton also finished second on the team with seven total tackles (six solo) against Philadelphia.
To this point in the season, Belton has emerged as a consistent presence in what is his first season as a member of the Shark secondary. Starting each of the team's first six games, Belton leads the squad with both 36 total tackles and 32 solo stops, and is tied with teammate Micheaux Robinson and Chicago's Jorrick Calvin for the league lead with 11 pass breakups.
A fourth-year veteran, Belton joined the Sharks after earning a spot on the All-Arena Second Team in 2012 as a member of the Georgia Force. Belton recorded 11 interceptions in 11 games last season and has a total of 27 interceptions in his three-year AFL career. He first broke into the league with the Milwaukee Iron in 2010 before joining Georgia in 2011. A Maryland native, Belton spent his collegiate career at the University of Massachusetts.
Belton's honor is the fourth weekly award won by a Shark player this season. Defensive lineman Jerry Turner was named the Defensive Player of the Week for Week 2, while wide receiver/kick returner Jeff Hughley earned both the J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week and AFL Highlight of the Week for Week 4.
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