Beyond the Gridiron: Landon Ramsey, the character and qualities of an MVP

Published 8:58 am Wednesday, November 23, 2022

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By Ron Marvel
Elizabethton Star
Last week an event happened for the first time in the history of Unaka High School football that, to a degree, flew under the radar of the Carter County community. Landon Ramsey was named Region 1-A Most Valuable Player; by most recollections, this is the first time that any player wearing the Ranger Maroon has won that honor. When you start talking to Rangers Head Coach O’Brien Bennett, he gushes about his Senior quarterback and middle linebacker. It should begin to become apparent that the recognition that has come the way of Rangers, Landon Ramsey, has just as much to do with the person he is as the player he is.
One of the first qualities that stands out about Landon Ramsey is his leadership this year. Coach Bennett stated, “it begins with leadership, and he has been a tremendous leader all year.” This year there was a hole at middle linebacker, but you typically do not place your quarterback in that role out of concern that he would get hurt, but with a quality backup in Brynin Repass, he felt Landon could be a possibility. This move would lead to Landon having 109 tackles on defense to go with his 2,878 all-purpose yards and thirty-four touchdowns, not to mention his 35-yard punt average. Landon remembers when the discussion started, “when coach says he has a need, you put your hand up first,” Ramsey said. His leadership just didn’t stop at this position. Unaka uses “markers” based on how well a kid knew the offense, to give their leaders the ability to set up plays; for Landon he just didn’t earn markers on offense but on defense as well. Landon remarked, “it helped me on offense to see things in a new way, while I was calling defensive plays.” Landon took this responsibility seriously, acknowledging his play calling would set up the team and individuals to succeed or fail.
Not only was it Landon Ramsey’s leadership but the team would also need his dedication. “You give him the marker last, not just because he’s the quarterback but because he has put in the work and film study, he earned it we gave him the keys,” Coach Bennett remarked. It was Landon’s dedication and work ethic that helped spur the Rangers not only on Friday nights but during practice sessions as well. Coach Bennett did not have his staff fully in place when the season started, so Landon and a few of his Senior teammates would work with the new coaches to teach them the system. “…it was pretty much us teaching them the system; it was like us being coaches,” Ramsey said. Landon also took time to pour out that level of instruction and attention onto the underclassmen as well from footwork to good mechanics to setting the standard to make the Rangers better. Landon emphatically will tell you an MVP award gets nowhere near to the satisfaction he took from the Rangers first-ever TSSAA playoff win, “it’s not even close; winning a playoff game involved everyone, our whole team, the community, everyone” Ramsey remarked.
Beyond just his metrics on the field, Landon was out serving in the community, with the Rangers Summer Service Program. He would go to the TLC program and take meals out to kids and families. Landon was also driving to Kingsport to help in the Kingsport Miracle Baseball League, a rec-league provided to children and adults with special needs. Landon’s brother Conner was born with Down Syndrome, so this non-profit was near and dear to his heart. He loved every moment working with those kids “you know Coach Bennett told us not to do anything to tarnish the u [uniform], so I wanted to be an example in that.”
Landon has several colleges looking at him and it may be just a matter of time before he commits. “Landon could play QB, linebacker or tight-end; he is that kind of athlete,” Coach Bennett stated. Beyond just numbers, which Landon has in excess, (over 7100 all-purpose yards and 94 TDs for his career), colleges today want to have confidence in who you are as a person, “Landon has all those characteristics schools are looking for today,” Coach Bennett confidently exclaimed. Between those qualities and his passion, to play at the next level, Coach Bennett knows Landon would be an asset wherever he plays his college ball at. When you examine his qualities: leadership, work ethic, responsibility, and a desire to serve, Landon should be set for life because those qualities will take you further than a set of shoulder pads ever could.

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