Just a handful of high school players in West Virginia each year earn Division I football scholarships. This year, three of those players are coming from George Washington High School — Ryan Switzer (North Carolina), Dustin Crouser (UNC Charlotte) and Jordan Clay (Air Force).
“It says a lot about these kids and how hard they’ve worked,” said GW coach Steve Edwards, Jr. “Everything they’re getting ready to experience and everything they have coming their way right now they have earned and we’re really proud of them.”
The most highly pursued of the three was Switzer, who ultimately chose North Carolina. He had multiple other offers, including West Virginia, but the Mountaineers were late to offer and didn’t make him a priority.
“Real early he was very interested in the Mountaineers, but to be honest, they didn’t show much interest in Ryan,” Edwards said. “They probably showed the least amount of interest and the least amount of effort towards recruiting the young man of anybody. And that’s OK too, because they knew what they wanted and what they needed.”
By the time West Virginia eventually showed more attention, there was too much of a gap to make up. The backlash thrown Switzer’s way by fans on WVU message boards didn’t make his decision to stick with North Carolina any easier.
“I was real proud of the way he handled it, because there was some negativity thrown his way – especially with the Internet,” Edwards Jr. said. “But he handled it real well and he didn’t let it sway him one bit. He’s a strong individual and he’s comfortable in his skin. He’s a tough kid physically and mentally.
“He did take some criticism and certainly there were some people disappointed, but things happen for a reason and he’s really looking forward to getting down there to North Carolina to get his degree.”
Late in the recruiting process, there was a strong push from several programs other than WVU trying to convince Switzer to flip.
“There were some schools that jumped in there late and were coming at him pretty hard,” Edwards said. “He’s a normal kid and entertained a lot of ideas, but once you got down to the brass tacks and he really weighed everything in hand, he stuck with his word and the Tar Heels.”
“Real early he was very interested in the Mountaineers, but to be honest, they didn’t show much interest in Ryan. They probably showed the least amount of interest and the least amount of effort towards recruiting the young man of anybody.” — GW coach Steve Edwards Jr. on WVU’s early recruitment of Switzer
And as for those schools, specifically, making a late run at Switzer?
“Florida State was on him heavy, along with Kentucky and Stanford,” Edwards said. “They all made strong pushes at the end and they were really coming hard.”
Joining Switzer in the state of North Carolina next year will be his GW teammate Crouser, who is signing with UNCC as a linebacker. Crouser tore his ACL midway through his senior season.
“The injury was very unfortunate, but it’s going to give him some time and it will work out for him,” Edwards said. “He’s been working hard, the surgery went real well and he’s very anxious to start working on his college career. He’s such a fantastic young man – he and Ryan both have such a great work ethic.”
Clay, who played receiver/tight end for GW, is set to sign with Air Force after visiting Colorado Springs.
“As soon as Jordan got out there, it was a sold, done deal,” Edwards said. “He’s another guy that’s worked very hard and is a very talented young man. The one thing about all three of these kids is that they were great students.
“Everyone is getting a great catch and we’re really proud of them. Jordan has done a great job and he had a great career here. It’s just a fun time and we’re real happy with all three of their families.”