Peyton Ramsey had a storybook redshirt junior season at Indiana, coming off the bench to help guide IU to an improbable eight win season and a trip to the Gator Bowl.
But there was no fairy tale ending, as Ramsey decided to use his final season of eligibility elsewhere rather than return to the bench behind starter Michael Penix, Jr.
Ramsey transferred to Northwestern after the 2019 season, and the Wildcats officially announced the addition of the Ohio native to their roster on Tuesday.
In the release from Northwestern, Ramsey thanked IU for his four seasons in Bloomington.
“I would like to thank everyone at Indiana University for allowing me to live out my dream of playing college football,” said Ramsey. “I would especially like to thank my teammates that pushed me, encouraged me, and trusted me. Sometimes the road to realizing your dreams can take you in a different direction than you expected.”
Ramsey will be an easy player for IU fans to get behind when the 2020 season kicks off. First, Indiana doesn’t face the Wildcats in 2020, so there should be no awkward moments barring a meeting at the Big Ten championship game.
But it is more than that.
The 6-foot-2 quarterback carried himself with dignity and grace throughout his career at IU. Ramsey began two out of his three seasons as a backup for IU, and was always ready when duty called.
Ramsey, who graduated in May from IU with a secondary education degree, appeared in 32 games in three seasons for the Hoosiers, making 23 starts.
During his time in Bloomington, Ramsey completed 66.5% of his career pass attempts for 6,581 yards and 42 touchdowns, while rushing for 832 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The Cincinnati, Ohio, native was named honorable mention All-Big Ten (media) in 2019 after finishing second in the Conference for completion percentage (68%), fourth in yards per attempt (8.2) and fifth in passer rating (147.7).
Ramsey made the move to Evanston to secure a better chance to be the starter for his last season of college football. As good as he was in 2019 for IU, it became apparent that Penix was the future in Bloomington.
There is no sense in standing on the sidelines wondering if someone will get injured. It was a difficult decision for Ramsey, but understandable.
But of course Northwestern has more than one quarterback on its 2020 roster.
A competition awaits at the Wildcats’ fall camp for Ramsey. And serving as a small world reminder, each of the candidates has ties to Indiana or Ramsey.
T.J. Green is returning for his sixth season at Northwestern. The son of former IU quarterback Trent Green has struggled with injuries during his career but he was expected to have a big role in 2019 before going down in the season opener. T.J. has had the unique advantage of training with a 15-year NFL veteran quarterback at home during the pandemic.
Hunter Johnson is a former five-star recruit from central Indiana that came to Northwestern after transferring from Clemson. Johnson actually went head-to-head against Ramsey in 2019 after both players subbed in during last year’s contest. Johnson should arrive at fall camp highly motivated to prove his doubters wrong.
Aidan Smith started for Northwestern last year in Bloomington, and he too hails from the Hoosier state. Smith attended Carroll High School in Fort Wayne. Interestingly, IU recruited Smith but never offered. He was in the same class as Ramsey.
Andrew Marty doesn’t have Indiana ties but he does hail from the same hometown as Ramsey. The Cincinnati product attended Wyoming High School in the southwestern Ohio city. Marty started the final game of the 2019 season for Northwestern and led the Wildcats to an upset win over Illinois.
Ramsey is no stranger to QB competitions, and he will once again have to fight for the starting job in August.
With his strong history of performance in the Big Ten, Ramsey should enter the competition as the favorite.
And he should be an easy guy for IU fans to get behind, especially when the Wildcats travel to Purdue on Oct. 31.
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