“We’re the lively guys,” junior Mack Hollins said. “Freak receivers exciting all crowds.”
The name originates from co-offensive coordinator and receiving coach Gunter Brewer.
Every receiver he’s ever coached — which has included mega-talents like Randy Moss and Dez Bryant — is a part of the Freaks.
They can be big, like 6-foot-5 junior Bug Howard, who’s been taking snaps at tight end in practice.
They can be fast, like junior Ryan Switzer, who took a short screen pass 63 yards for a touchdown against Pittsburgh in 2014, a play quarterback Marquise Williams still raves about.
Or they can be part machine, like senior Quinshad Davis, who had metal rods inserted into his legs this offseason after suffering from a broken tibia and stress fractures.
Davis needs only one more touchdown to pass Hakeem Nicks — another former Freak — for most career receiving touchdowns in Tar Heel history.
The Freaks are one of the most talented groups on the team. The top four of Davis, Hollins, Switzer and Howard present a unique challenge for opposing defenses.
All of them believe they can beat defenders in one-on-one situations, and with four of them on the field, someone will always be single-covered.
The group also boasts experience and depth.
The starting four are all upperclassmen and played significant roles on the team in 2014.
“For those guys coming back, there’s not many things that they’re going to see that’s going to surprise them,” Switzer said.
“Anytime you get experience out there, guys that have done it, guys that have been in the jam-packed stadiums, guys that have been down in the fourth quarter situations, it helps a lot.”
Behind those four, talented youngsters like sophomore Austin Proehl and freshman Juval Mollette will be looking to establish themselves as bona fide members of the Freaks.
In addition to most talented, the Freaks also lay claim to the tightest-knit group on the team.
Switzer calls the group “nutty,” and Davis says that while the receivers have different personalities, they all mesh well together.
“We have cookouts, go out to movies — we do a lot of stuff together,” Davis said. “Pretty much everything we do is together.”
On Sept. 3, when the receivers join together on the field at Bank of America Stadium for the season opener against South Carolina, Mack Hollins knows what’s about to go down.
“It’s freak time — showtime.”