ATHENS – Good for Brice Ramsey. Good for Georgia.
As reported early Thursday afternoon, Ramsey has decided to return to the University of Georgia, or stay there, however one might like to frame it. The senior quarterback announced back at the beginning of spring semester that he was seeking a transfer via the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule. Three months later, he announced that he’s staying with the Bulldogs.
Obviously a lot went into that decision. First and foremost, I’m sure Ramsey was disappointed in the options he found out there. That was my concern for him from the outset. The market, particularly on the FBS Power 5 level, is not very good for non-starters who haven’t had great success at their previous address. I felt pretty certain that Ramsey, if he was to find a new home, was going to end up at a lower level.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. At the end of the day, football players play football because they want to play. And while their competitive juices certainly get fed in practice and scrimmage environments, it’s simply not the same as running through a tunnel onto a field in a stadium somewhere knowing that you’re going to play a vital role in whatever happens that day and there is a true-blue opponent on the other side scheming to stop you.
Remember Dusty Bonner? I thought of him when I thought of Ramsey leaving UGA. Bonner left Kentucky after going from starter to backup to Tim Couch. He transferred to Valdosta State and ended up setting pretty much every school record and winning the Harlon Hill Trophy as the top player in Division II two years in a row. I hoped something like that might happen for Ramsey.
I don’t know what Ramsey’s options ended up being, but I figured something like Valdosta State would certainly be on the table for him. I heard some scuttlebutt about Southern Miss and Coastal Carolina, which certainly would have been good destinations with a pretty high level of competitive football.
But none of them are Georgia. At the end of the day, that remained Ramsey’s best option. And I get that.
From the jump, Ramsey has always loved Georgia. While he certainly came to Athens from Kingsland with dreams – and expectations – of becoming the Bulldogs’ next great quarterback, he also came for all those other reasons that attract thousands of students from all over to the school. He got a great education and now holds a degree in communication studies. He met his girlfriend here. Can you imagine the number of close friends he has made?
I talked to Jeff Herron, Ramsey’s coach at Camden County High School, about this development.
“It really was a surprise to me. Well, I guess I’m not surprised because I know Brice likes it there,” Herron said. “Again, I think he likes his teammates and he’s a good team player. I think more than anything it’s about loyalty. That’s a big deal to him. He’s doing what he wants to do, what’s best for him, what’s best for Georgia. How can anything be wrong with that?”
Then there is the football side of things. To his credit, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart gave Ramsey his blessing to leave — but he never stopped recruiting him to stay. In case you haven’t noticed, the Bulldogs have a depth issue at quarterback. Only Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm hold scholarships at the position, and obviously Fromm, the early-enrollee freshman, has never played.
Ramsey has. And while he hasn’t exactly lit it up in the few opportunities he’s gotten, neither has he stunk it up to high heaven – 60 percent completion rate, 582 yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs, 133.8 efficiency rating.
Certainly Fromm is a good player in his own right. He was definitely going to play this season with Ramsey gone and probably still does based on what I’ve seen and heard. But Ramsey’s return provides some options.
If Eason stays healthy, Fromm doesn’t have to play. Redshirting would be an option for Fromm, which would buy Georgia some time to find its next quarterback of the future. That has been a difficult proposition so far as we’ve all witnessed in the class of 2018.
Ramsey was once that quarterback of the future. Maybe he’ll flourish in the role of backup of the present.