Few positions garner more attention during the recruiting process than the quarterback slot. Just as in football games themselves, QBs get an inordinate share of the credit and blame in making or breaking recruiting classes. Fortunately for the Bulldog football program, Mark Richt has had a midas touch when it comes to identifying quarterback talent. This year's heir apparent to the title of QB1 for the red and black is Brice Ramsey out of south Georgia powerhouse Camden County.
Ramsey was getting serious attention from big time college coaches as a freshman, before he'd even started a game for Camden. His arm strength, touch, and delivery were all so obviously outstanding that he was a no-brainer prospect even before he got his learner's permit. As he progressed through high school, Ramsey eventually earned scholarship offers from not only Georgia but also Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Clemson, and Ohio State. Clearly that is not a list of schools who offer every player around. If the likes of Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, and Jimbo Fisher think the kid has potential I'd be hard-pressed to disagree. Let's take a look at the film that convinced those guys that Ramsey could be a collegiate standout. First, some combine film from this past summer's Elite 11 tryout camp in Atlanta. Sorry about the ads, it's the price of free video.
Ramsey's mechanics are just outstanding. Really, his release point in this video is nice and high. He doesn't sidearm the ball. That's important a) because it helps keep the ball from being batted down, and b) a higher release point promotes accuracy. He also has solid footwork in this video, unloading his weight onto his front foot as he releases the ball, but not bending at the waist on his follow through (again, an accuracy issue, and common among guys who "overthrow" to compensate for a lack of strength). Brice may not have the quickest delivery you'll ever see, but he's still pretty darned quick to get rid of the ball. There's not a lot of wasted motion. That's important. I've come to believe that there's only so much you can do to improve a kid's mechanics once he gets to college. It's more a matter of improving the consistency with which those mechanics are applied.
Let's also take a look at some of Ramsey's work with his Camden teammates, including fellow Bulldog signee #5 J.J. Green.
This film displays a little more effectively how strong Ramsey's arm really is. The throw at the 00:18 mark into the corner of the endzone has some definite mustard on it, as does the TD throw around the 2:08 mark. He also shows good touch and accuracy on the longer throws, which I partially attribute to those good release mechanics noted above. Ramsey also displays some pretty impressive wheels at the 00:40 and 1:02 marks, reminiscent of some of the runs I saw Aaron Murray take off on during his time at Plant High School in Tampa.
Did I mention that Ramsey is also pretty close to being a Division 1 prospect as a kicker? Watch from 2:56 on, and like me you'll find yourself wondering if Mark Richt would consider using him to quick kick from time to time. I love a good quick kick on 4th and 4 from the 45. It's a treasure.
Coach Jeff Herron has won more football games in the past few years in Kingsland by operating a run-heavy, Wing-T offense. He opened it up some in 2011 and 2012, as was to be expected with his star signal caller. Great coaches fit their systems to the personnel on hand, not the other way around. But it's beyond dispute that Brice just doesn't have the experience in a pass-happy attack that so many incoming freshman quarterbacks have these days.
Ramsey has good height at a shade over 6'2 and a shade under 200 pounds (note: he looks a shade taller than the guy in the gray Georgia sweatshirt at the 1:09 mark of that Elite 11 video, who's either Aaron Murray or an excellent doppleganger). I suspect he'll continue to grow and fill out during his time in Athens.
Ramsey's biggest faults are things that can be addressed. For example, in the 2013 Under Armour All-American game, Ramsey tossed three interceptions, including this really poor one:
As the commentator notes, and as Bulldog fans saw with David Greene, Matthew Stafford and Aaron Murray, one of the most important lessons a quarterback can learn is when to just throw the ball the heck away. Ramsey, like those successful quarterbacks I just listed, is going to have to learn that. It will come with time.
Ramsey will obviously redshirt in 2013 as Aaron Murray continues his assault on the Georgia and SEC record books, backed up by Hutson Mason. The real question is whether he or Mason will take the reins in 2014. Personally, I think it's too early to handicap that race. But Ramsey is already on campus (I think he's rooming with Ryne Rankin and his boss taxidermy collection), which should help him get into the race. Long term, barring something very unexpected, we will see Brice Ramsey starting at quarterback for the Georgia Bulldogs, at least by his redshirt sophomore season in 2015. That would mean a possible three year run at the top of the rotation, the kind of consistency that Mark Richt and Bulldog fans have come to love.
Welcome to Athens, Brice. Now get to work. Until later . . .