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Freshman Isaiah Fisher-Smith Emerges As A Special Teams Star For Duke Football

NCAA Football: Charlotte at Duke
Oct 31, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte 49ers punter Connor Bowler (19) has his punt blocked blocked by Duke Blue Devils safety Isaiah Fisher-Smith (11) during the first quarter of the game against the Charlotte 49ers at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory 
Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

We’re not sure how much people think about special teams play until that unit is on the field and even then judgment is pretty quick: either a play is stopped or it succeeds. And one of the other teams claims success.

We don’t really notice it that much on, say, a kickoff is advanced to the 20 yard line. But when someone gets an opening and takes off?

That you notice.

One of the rarest successful plays on special teams is a blocked punt. It’s heavily defended for obvious reasons and getting through is pretty rare. Getting through on a semi-regular basis is spectacular. And that’s what Duke freshman Isaiah Fisher-Smith has been doing.

Fisher-Smith has two blocks already and very nearly a third (and he recovered that one).

Even more amazingly, the Greensboro native had “three or four and tipped three others” at Page High.

Duke coach David Cutcliffe explains it this way: “What I really think he does well is he can move so quickly and is low to the ground. He can slice in. What you kind of have to do is slice on a punt block, but he’s got a great, great vision. And that was about as classic as you can get it taking a ball off a foot. There’s a knack there and he’s a fierce competitor.”

He’s going to be fun to watch during his time at Duke.