A year ago, then-high school senior Ryan Switzer stood in the sea of Carolina blue-clad fans, cheering as Giovani Bernard dodged N.C. State defenders and found the end zone, defeating N.C. State for the first time in five years.
And on Saturday, Switzer will trot onto the field at Carter-Finley Stadium, waiting to receive the Wolfpack’s punts after securing the role of primary punt returner.
“It’s always a challenge being back there as a punt returner,” he said. I’m getting better at it every week. I’m glad the coaches have faith in me to put me back there over some older guys.”
At the beginning of the season the coaching staff put redshirt sophomore T.J. Thorpe on the field to return punts, but after a couple of miscues, including a fumble in the loss to South Carolina, Switzer quietly assumed Thorpe’s role.
There have been a few flashes of Switzer’s special teams potential — against Georgia Tech, an 82-yard punt return touchdown that was called back and a few weekends later, a long reception that again was voided.