The Intangibles: Jose Ramirez
A quick look at his season totals will tell you he's a capable defensive end, but that's not all there is to Jose Ramirez's portfolio.
Jose Ramirez’s big season is no surprise to anybody.
He was bound to have a huge year in his final season with Eastern Michigan. This season was Ramirez’s fourth year at EMU after stops at Arizona and Riverside Community College and picked up Third Team All-MAC honors last year. After three seasons in the #55 uniform, the coaches let him wear #4, the one that reminds him of his hometown of Auburndale, Fla.
Ramirez has steadily been one of the top defensive ends in the conference again and maybe he’ll end up hearing his name called in the 2023 NFL Draft. A quick glance at his resume will tell you he’s as least earned his right to be in that conversation: two-year starter at EMU, 20.5 career sacks (12 this year), 34 career TFL (19.5 this year), 153 career tackles, 7 passes defended, 6 fumbles forced and a recovery.
On the field, there’s no question that Ramirez is capable of taking on pro football after his upcoming graduation.
As much as the NFL Draft cycle will turn the conversation around him into what he’s currently physically capable of, I don’t think scouts should look past what he brings to the table as a leader.
Who wouldn’t want to be Ramirez’s teammate?
Ramirez, one of the four team captains, usually goes out to midfield for the pregame coin toss alongside Taylor Powell, Chase Kline, and Brian Dooley. Over the last couple of games, he’s given the honor out to one of his teammates instead.
Last week at Kent State, Ramirez held back by the sidelines and let senior safety Brandon Benson have the pregame honors.
Today against Central Michigan, first-year punter Mitchell Tomasek got to be the one to shake hands at midfield in place of Ramirez.
“I go up there every week,” Ramirez said. “Sure it’s fun to go up there to be the captain and lead this team, but I just feel like (those) guys earned the respect of our team and earned the respect of our coaches to be called the captain of that week.
“I wish I would’ve done that earlier, but later in the season I just started realizing other guys would probably feel good going up there. It’s a cool feeling going up there for the coin toss... They deserved it.”
Chris Creighton, when I asked, didn’t exactly know why Ramirez chose to do that with his captain’s perks. Wasn’t surprised, either.
“He just constantly puts other people before himself,” Creighton said. “He’s been out there with the coin toss a bunch and so he knows probably what a big deal that is and those get one opportunity as the special teams captain and wanted them to have that moment over him.”
In the closing moments of Friday’s win over CMU, both Tomasek and Benson combined for back-to-back plays to help call ‘game’.
EMU’s offense was forced off the field to punt from its own 24-yard line, but Tomasek booted the ball 57 yards to pin CMU on its own 17. On the very next play, Benson came through with an interception for CMU’s third thrown pick of the game to put EMU’s offense on the field at the 11.
Powell, like clockwork, kept the ball on the offense’s first play of the drive and ran it in for a touchdown.
One easy area Creighton and many would rightfully point to is the turnover margin. Over the last five games, EMU’s won the turnover battle in four games and tied (1-1) vs. Toledo. In each of the last two games, EMU won the turnover battles 3-0.
Turnovers is one thing, but Ramirez credits the intangibles for the team’s second-half turnaround this season. The word he said the team emphasized as the season went on was ‘trust’.
“Just trust in the gameplan, trust in the coaches, just trust everything throughout the process and always (keep) believing,” Ramirez said.
“What coach (Creighton) said last week with Kent State during the halftime, we were believing that we were going to win that game even though we were down. Just played like it was 0-0 every play.”
There will be plenty of time to discuss what his NFL Draft potential looks like and how physically ready he is for the job ahead, but whenever scouts do their homework on Ramirez, I’m sure they’ll be pleased with what they see in him.
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