Lisa Ellars needed to come up with a rotation. Her little room at John Adams Middle School couldn’t accommodate her class plus the 20 football players who were visiting daily.
It was supposed to be a once-a-month movie club her sixth-grade special education class hosted. But when Ryan Switzer, the state’s sandlot football star, began showing up to see his best friend, Cliff, and help out the class, people took notice.
Clifton Reid III, left, and Ryan Switzer met in middle school and were inseparable during their time at George Washington High in Charleston, West Virginia. Courtesy Michael Switzer
“They’re a special pair, and the thing about it is, I probably would never have known Cliff if not for their relationship,” George Washington High School football coach Steve Edwards Jr. said. “A lot of people might not have known what kind of great, loving, funny man Cliff is and how he enjoyed life. Cliff ran the school the whole time he was here.”
Cliff is Clifton Reid III, affectionately known as “Pint” around Charleston, West Virginia. He and Switzer, now a 22-year-old senior receiver at North Carolina and on the cusp of tying the NCAA record for punt-return touchdowns, first met when Reid was shooting baskets alone in the middle school gym. Switzer reached out to Reid, who has Down syndrome and is on the autism spectrum. Not long after, Switzer was signing up for Ellars’ club and coming every day.
It inspired a movement among his teammates…