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Thursday, January 23, 2014
2013 Top 25 player countdown: No. 19

By Andrea Adelson

No. 19 Ryan Switzer, WR/PR, North Carolina

Ryan Switzer
Ryan Switzer, a true freshman, tied an NCAA single-season record (and set the ACC record) with five punt returns for touchdowns.
Previous ranking: Not ranked.

Making the case: As a true freshman, Switzer became the best punt returner in the nation, tying an NCAA single-season record with five punt returns for touchdowns. That also happened to set a new ACC record and school career record. But those were not the only records that have Switzer's name on them. Switzer also broke the single-season school record with 502 punt return yards; and set the single-season school record for punt return average at 20.9. His total punt return yards and punt return average also led the nation. For his efforts, Switzer earned a spot on both the FWAA All-America team and the FWAA Freshman All-America team, just the sixth player to make both teams in the same season.

His finest performance came against Pittsburgh, in which he essentially won the game for the Tar Heels with his punt returns. He returned one punt 65 yards in the second quarter but somehow, the Panthers still punted the ball to him late in the fourth quarter. He returned a punt 61 yards for the game-winning score with less than five minutes to go in the game, earning ACC specialist and rookie of the week honors for his performance. He ended the season the way you would expect -- with an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown against Cincinnati to win Belk Bowl MVP honors.

The countdown