Epidemic of quarterback transfers makes it harder on teams to find capable backups
The latest quarterback to transfer out of the SEC is Brice Ramsey, who announced his plan Tuesday to leave Georgia.
Originally a 4-star recruit from Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County High School for the class of 2013, Ramsey was the odds-on favorite to win the starting job following the departure of the conference’s all-time leading passer, Aaron Murray.
However, then-coach Mark Richt went with Greyson Lambert — himself a transfer out of Virginia — at the game’s most important position for the 2015 campaign. Shortly thereafter, 5-star phenom Jacob Eason arrived and quickly rose to the top of the depth chart. Ramsey was relegated to third-string duty last season.
Ramsey will graduate from UGA this semester, which makes him eligible to play immediately in 2017. He issued a statement via 247Sports:
“I have enjoyed my years at UGA, the bonds I have made with the coaching staffs as well as the numerous friendships with my teammates will last a lifetime and will continue to help guide me with decisions and future endeavors. I will never look back on my time at UGA with regrets, I have loved every minute of my time here. However I understand the meaning of living life with no regrets so after a talk with my family over spring break I have decided to try and play my last year at another institution. I thank Coach Kirby Smart for the advice he has given me and the way he guided me from the moment he arrived on campus. I wish him, the coaching staff and the players nothing but the best and will forever cheer for them. Go Dawgs!!”
Needless to say, Ramsey didn’t have a legitimate shot to compete for No. 1 with Eason. As a matter of fact, Ramsey might have been a third-stringer again since 4-star early enrollee Jake Fromm has impressed already.
Still, this puts the Bulldogs in a perilous spot under center. Even if Eason has all the talent in the world — many assume he’s an automatic first-round pick in the NFL Draft after a three-year stint in Athens — his passer efficiency rating was 11th in the league last year among 12 signal callers who qualified.
Alabama’s Jalen Hurts was the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2016 right out of high school, but he’s an extraordinarily rare case. Even Matthew Stafford, arguably Georgia’s most gifted field general ever, struggled mightily in Year 1.
Ramsey was a 60.8-percent passer in limited action, assembling an even touchdown-to-interception ratio of 4-to-4. Dubiously or not, his primary contribution as a Bulldog the past two seasons was on special teams — he averaged 38.7 yards as a punter. It’s safe to say he didn’t live up to his billing offensively.
But he would’ve been quite serviceable as a reserve behind Eason. An experienced No. 2 is a luxury in today’s game.
Many UGA fans think Ramsey never got a fair shake. The offensive coordinator who recruited him, Mike Bobo, left to take the head-coaching job at Colorado State about the time Ramsey was in line to replace Murray.
It’s unclear where Ramsey is headed, although it would be a surprise if he stayed in the SEC. Smart cut his teeth on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama — unlike Richt, his transfer rules are less than lenient. With Nick Stevens entrenched as the starter at Colorado State, reuniting with Bobo is also unlikely.
Ramsey wants to play, which is understandable. However, getting Fromm ready quickly just became more of a priority for Georgia.