COVINGTON, GA. – In football, kickers often occupy a lonely position as kicking usually only comes down to the mentality and the leg strength of the kicker. Kickers, more often than not, practice by themselves, and during games, can be seen warming up in relative seclusion.
It can also be a thankless job for sure, as the kicker often isn’t talked about until he botches that game-winning field goal or routine extra point after a touchdown. But anyone who has watched a football game knows that the one to three points the kicker can be responsible for at any given time can make or break the game.
For former Alcovy kicker Jose Ramos, a Georgia Knights Prep Academy signee, he did what kickers do best – ventured out by himself to make something happen.
A kept promise from his friend and former Alcovy teammate Nick Simmons that he would look out for Ramos once when he got an offer led to an opportunity for him to showcase his skill for the GKPA coaches.
The graduated senior was offered a place with the team on the spot.
Ramos will tell you that he takes responsibility for not putting his apparent talents and skill on display for scouts and coaches to have something more to evaluate.
“I have the talent, and I got my strength up, so I feel like all I need is one more year to show myself, to show everybody out there, that I can get (college scholarship) offers,” Ramos said. “I feel like getting exposure and going to camps with everybody; I can stand out and get into a better university. I feel like I can do it – I’m thinking only positive [thoughts], nothing negative.”
The former soccer player was new to football when he joined the team, but his instincts and smarts allowed him to learn the game almost naturally. Former Alcovy High head coach Chris Edgar was a part of helping Ramos translate his soccer skills to the football field.
“I’m just really proud of him,” Edgar said. “He’s an All-Region (3-AAAAAA) kicker as a junior, and I think he was second-team this [past] year. He just always had a strong leg, and I’m excited for him to have an opportunity to play a sport that he has grown to love.”
One significant benefit of his signing with Georgia Knights is that his time there won’t affect his years of eligibility if and when he transfers to a major university.
Ramos spent three seasons with the Tigers, beginning his sophomore year. It was his junior year, where he showed flashes of what he could be. That year, Ramos was responsible for 40 total points, converted 22 of his 24 PATs while averaging 48.9 yards on his kickoffs and showing decent consistency around the 40-yard field goal range.
But with nearly any success, some regression can be expected. Ramos’ senior year his total points dropped to 19, and his PAT attempts fell precipitously to only six on the season, although part of that had also to do with Alcovy’s overall offensive woes during the 2018 campaign.
Possibly struggling with the physicality of the game more than he had the previous year, the 6-foot-2, 140-pound Ramos has begun to put in the work over the summer to improve in that area.
Working with Georgia Knights special teams coach Mike Marquez, Ramos is looking to improve his mechanics and even make some changes to his kicking style.
“[I can get better at] being more consistent,” Ramos said. “I had the accuracy, but I just needed to get in the weight room, but I’ve been doing that lately. It shows a lot because it helps with consistency. I just feel like I needed to get stronger, you know, add a little more weight so I can kick the ball farther. That’s really what I’ve been trying to work on lately.”
Ramos’ soccer background extends to his family as they are soccer fans. But once his mother saw his passion for the game of football, she knew he could find a way to succeed at it.
When Ramos signed with Georgia Knights after going through his senior year with no offers, his mother’s intuition looked to be accurate.
“My mom was kind of relieved because she wasn’t expecting me to play football anymore,” Ramos said. “She felt like I could have done something with it, so she was kind of relieved that I could have a chance. My family was all excited for me.
“They don’t really know much about football like that, you know. We’ve always been a soccer family. They didn’t really know that I had talent like that.”