Ryan Switzer has been a consistent force for UNC football for three years now. He has been one of the most exciting players in college football while breaking records and scoring touchdowns for the Tar Heels. Let’s take a look deeper into his historical UNC football career.
Coming in to UNC, Switzer was a 5’9 four-star “athlete” from Charleston, West Virginia. He wasn’t overlooked at all, but no one could have imagined the career he would have at Carolina, and the legacy he would leave.
As a freshman, Switzer was named a first-team All-American as a return man. He became the first Tar Heel since 1977, and 3rd Tar Heel ever, to be named All-ACC as a freshman. He tied the NCAA record with five punt return touchdowns in a season. Switzer also set a UNC single-season record for punt return average (20.9) and total yards in a season with 502. Switzer also tied the NCAA record for three consecutive games with a punt return touchdown.
Sophomore year saw a drop off in his punt return performance, but a huge gain in his ability to make plays as a wide receiver. Switzer had 61 catches for 757 yards and four touchdowns. This is a dramatic increase compared to his 32 receptions 341 yards and three touchdown freshman season numbers.
Switzer earned All-American honors as an all-purpose player his Junior season. He also had a team-high 55 receptions, for 697 yards, and six touchdowns. Ryan also returned two punts for touchdowns bringing him one shy of tying the NCAA career mark.
What’s in store for Switzer this year? Right now he is on pace to have 72 receptions this year, which would give him the most receptions in Carolina history. Switzer also recently accumulated 1,000 punt return yards in his career at Carolina, becoming the first to do so. In regards to the all-time punt return touchdown record, Switzer technically should already have it, but two were controversially called back over his career. It would be a great ending to such a storied career to see him reach that mark. He deserves it for all that he has given to the Tar Heel program.
My prediction is that he gets the record. Not only because he deserves it, and not only because he is one of the best return men in the country. It is because he is hungry.
The disrespect has been real this off-season. https://t.co/DqFOFe8L27— Ryan Switzer (@Switz03) August 27, 2016
How is a player who is two punt return touchdowns shy of owning the NCAA record being left off so many preseason lists? I don’t have an answer for that, but Switzer will.
Switzer is poised for another breakout year in the receiving game as well. He and quarterback Mitch Trubisky have been roommates the past three seasons, and are best friends. Ryan went so far as to say that Trubisky will be the best man in his wedding. The chemistry is clearly there on the field too, seeing as Switzer is the leading receiver on the team, and has more than double the receptions of the next closest receiver.
Trubisky and Switzer have formed a strong bond since coming in as freshman together. Finally, they will be able to take the field together, and hopefully break some records.
Switzer has been somewhat the face of UNC football for some time now. People may argue differently, but when you ask football fans who don’t watch ACC or UNC football religiously to name a player for UNC, most people would name Switzer or say something along the lines of, “they have that one quick punt returner.” People from all over know who he is and what he can do.
I want to/would compare him to Marcus Paige but I don’t want to set the Internet on fire. That’s honestly comparable, though. Both are undersized players who saw action as freshman, and had huge freshman seasons. Both were underestimated and made impacts on their respective teams. Both have had the phrase “has that guy graduated yet?” attached to their name by opposing fan bases. Both have represented the university well over their time at UNC. Paige was the face of UNC basketball for four years, while Switzer has been the face of UNC football for four years.
That “one quick punt returner,” is named Ryan Switzer. He is the face of Carolina football, and he’s looking to break some records this year.