By Jesus Coronel
One’s journey to the NFL is never easy. Whether it would be success from the high school level, college level, or just having fundamental success. Finding your role as a player is important to develop the skills to be at the top of your game.
That’s the case for linebacker Jose Ramirez, who played at Riverside City College back in 2018, spent four seasons at Eastern Michigan University and was drafted in this year’s NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 196th pick.
“I think he’s a great story,” RCC head coach Tom Craft said. “We’re really excited that he’s getting that opportunity.”
In his one year with the Tigers, Ramirez totaled 30 tackles, eight sacks and a forced fumble with a recovery.
“I was the one that recruited Jose to play in our program,” defensive coordinator James Kuk said. “He was a talented player, had the intensity and did a lot of good things for us in his freshman year.”
Although the team would lose in the CCCAA Finals that year, his performances were enough to land him a spot at Eastern Michigan University, where he would spend four years continuing his path to the NFL.
Ramirez had a humble start to his time at EMU, not playing in 2019 and barely getting any reps in 2020.
He would go on to improve drastically in the following year, with his defensive presence being felt. Ramirez played all 13 games for the Eagles, totalling 63 total tackles, 12 for a loss, six and a half sacks and three forced fumbles.
“He developed into a really good pass rusher, he got better against the run and as he went into the next level, he also got good training,” Craft said. “He’s one of those guys that bloomed late.”
This most recent season for Eastern Michigan, Ramirez recorded 66 total tackles, 19.5 of them being for a loss, two forced fumbles and one recovery. His 12 sacks, a school record for a single season helped the team go 9-4 on the year.
It also earned him the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors.
“We are always happy and we always follow our players to the next level,” Craft said.
Coach Craft has always had an emphasis on giving his players the best opportunities to advance their career at RCC and Ramirez is the latest name to come from the program into the NFL.
“Seeing the guys develop and grow, a lot of them don’t get any offers out of high school, they get opportunities here,” he said. “Kids develop in the right program and they go on to do great things.”