Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald jokingly asked his fans after the conclusion of the team’s regular season to help convince QB Peyton Ramsey to stay another year. The thought that Northwestern would want Ramsey to come back isn’t a surprising one after what he contributed. After all, he helped a team with the poorest passing game in the country in 2019 to finish at 7-2 overall as champions of the Big Ten West.
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2020 was a standout season for Northwestern QB Peyton Ramsey
The 2020 season was a standout year for the Indiana transfer. The Northwestern quarterback completed 61% of his passes for 1,733 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. In addition, Peyton Ramsey was recognized as the Offensive MVP in the VRBO Citrus Bowl. His performance in the game included passing for 291 yards with 3 touchdown passes. Ramsey also scored on a 30-yard run of his own in the 35-19 win over Auburn.
Ramsey views the win and the season as successes. Furthermore, his standout season can only be good for his draft stock. Equally important, it could get him a second look from teams. However, he doesn’t emphasize himself. For Peyton Ramsey, it’s about bringing a winning spirit and a sense of confidence that will reward the whole team.
“It helped a lot to go up and play against a good SEC defense,” he said of the win over the Tigers. “I didn’t get to spend a lot of time at Northwestern at all, really six months, that was it. I got to know some guys on a personal level, some guys that will be my friends for a long time.”
“So, going out with a win, that’s good for my draft stock and I think it means a lot. I statistically played the best game of my season. But I think more than anything, for the guys in that locker room to people that I met along the way, I think it means a lot more to them because they’ve been there for so long, and it was just a special ending.”
The Northwestern QB looks to carry his momentum to the NFL level
Now, Peyton Ramsey is ready to take the next step in his career. Ramsey declared for the 2021 NFL Draft earlier this month. As it stands, he’s currently projected to be taken late in Day 3 or signed as an undrafted free agent.
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As far as why he made that decision, he believes it’s time to move forward after playing out a long college football career. Throughout his collegiate career, Ramsey completed over 65% of his passes for 8,314 yards, 54 touchdowns, and 31 interceptions.
“I’ve been in college for a long time. Five years. So it’s not like I’ve only played a year or two,” he said. “I’ve played a lot of football over the last four years, so I think that was the main reason. I don’t regret anything. I’ve had a lot of success… I think it’s time to put my best foot forward, and I’m ready to move on and take that next step.”
The 6’2”, 220-pound QB knows what he brings to the table, and there’s a good balance here between mental and physical attributes.
“I think the biggest thing that I bring and where it all starts is the way I prepare. Not only in the film room, but in the way I take care of my body, and that’s the way I’ve always been. The way I watch film and get prepared and know what the defense is going to show me is kind of why I had success in college. I’m mobile enough to get out of the pocket and make plays out of the pocket, athletic enough to do that and my footwork has come a long way.”
Ramsey needs to work on his explosiveness if he’s going to latch on with an NFL team
Peyton Ramsey also knows what he needs to work on. Similarly, one thing he mentions he’s been criticized for in the past is a lack of explosive plays.
“And just continuing to make those big, explosive plays on the field,” he said. “That’s always been a knock of mine — that I haven’t done that enough and haven’t done it consistently enough in college. It’s something I’m going to continue to work on throughout the offseason. That’s something I can do and do consistently.”
Ramsey’s absence also means a QB competition for Northwestern. He’s confident that the Wildcats will find their next leader, with guys like Hunter Johnson remaining in the room.
“Northwestern’s quarterback room… the two guys that are leading that room are both very good players. Both have a chance to make it happen next year,” he said. “Really good leaders, awesome people. Guys who I got to know and got to call friends. So I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know how it’s going to shake out, but they’re in good hands for sure.”
It will be interesting to see if both the Northwestern QBs can continue to build some offensive momentum in the coming seasons. Furthermore, it remains to be seen where Ramsey lands in the NFL. Nevertheless, it’s clear that whichever team lands him will get someone with a strong work ethic and dedication to the game. One thing is for certain — Peyton Ramsey has shown that he can bring a suffering program to new heights.
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