Ryan Switzer on Watch List for Hornung Award
Over the last three seasons at Kenan Stadium, a buzz has taken over the crowd each time 5-foot-10 wide receiver and punt return specialist Ryan Switzer gets his hands on the ball.
As he enters his senior year, it appears the rest of the nation is starting to recognize what those in Chapel Hill have known for a long, long time.
The Louisville Sports Commission named Switzer as one of 43 players on the watch list for the Hornung Award–which, for the last six years, has been given annually to the most versatile player in college football.
Switzer led the Tar Heels in 2015 with 55 catches for 697 yards and six touchdowns. The two-time All-American returner also brought two punts back for scores despite many opponents making a conscious effort to kick the ball away from him.
He enters 2016 with seven career punt return touchdowns–just one shy of tying the all-time record set by former Texas Tech star Wes Welker.
A panel of college football experts compiled the Hornung Award Watch List using a combination of 2015 statistics, career performance and expectations heading into the 2016 season.
It’s safe to say that Switzer has each of those boxes checked–and then some.
To win the trophy, however, he’ll have to outperform three of last year’s four finalists: RB Christian McCaffrey (Stanford), WR/CB Adoree Jackson (Southern California) and LB/S Jabrill Peppers (Michigan).
Past winners and finalists include: Odell Beckham Jr. (LSU/New York Giants), Tavon Austin (West Virginia/Los Angeles Rams) and Randall Cobb (Kentucky/Green Bay Packers).
“I’m ecstatic that the Paul Hornung Award has gained national prominence in such a short time,” said Paul Hornung, the 1956 Heisman Trophy winner who played every position in the offensive backfield during his Notre Dame career–and was a triple threat halfback for the Green Bay Packers of the early 1960s.
“During the past six years the quality of our winners, finalists and weekly honorees has been impressive,” he added. “And I’m pleased that we are able to acknowledge outstanding players who contribute any way possible to help their teams win the way I did.”
The award will be presented in late February at a banquet in downtown Louisville.