Damond Philyaw-Johnson Wins Specialist of the Week Award


Duke sophomore Damond Philyaw-Johnson was named the ACC Specialist of the Week, after becoming just the second player in ACC history to return two kickoffs for a touchdown in the same game. Philyaw-Johnson provided the majority of the scoring for the Blue Devils in their 39-27 loss at Wake Forest. He returned kicks 98 and 97 yards, the former being the tenth-longest in school history.

Justin Miller is the only other ACC player to take two kickoffs back for touchdowns in one game, in 2004, for Clemson against Florida State. Philyaw-Johnson also set school records for kick return yardage (251) and average (50.2) in a game.

Philyaw-Johnson is now fourth nationally in kick return average (32.64) and could break the single-season record, set by DeVon Edwards (30.21 in 2013).

Philyaw-Johnson is the second consecutive Blue Devil to win Specialist of the Week. Junior kicker A.J. reed won the award last week after kicking a 51-yard field goal against Syracuse. Reed also had a 31-yarder in the game and became the sixth Duke kicker with a pair of 50-plus yarders in one season. He’s also the only kicker in the ACC with three 49-plus yard kicks this season. He leads the ACC in kick accuracy after hitting 84 percent of his field goal attempts this season.

Reed and Philyaw-Johnson are the first Blue Devils to win the weekly award since Shaun Wilson in 2016. It’s the first time two Duke specialists have been honored in a season since 2015, when DeVon Edwards and Ross Martin won, capping a three-year streak of multiple winners.

Duke has had a total of five weekly award winners this year. Koby Quansah (linebacker), Jack Wohlabaugh (offensive lineman) and Victor Dimukeje (defensive line) were honored earlier this season.