Jalen Ramsey still waiting


BRENTWOOD, Tenn. -- Forgive Jalen Ramsey if he's not always thinking about football even when he's on the football field.

Simply put, there are times when the Watch List cornerback from Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy gets bored. Opposing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators are to blame. Instead of risking the long odds of completing a pass on Ramsey, they'd rather throw elsewhere. That's understandable.

Ramsey, a track standout as well, has the speed and size (6-foot-1 and 185 pounds) to cover any route. College coaches are convinced as evident by Ramsey's 24 scholarship offers, including recent ones from Southern California, Ohio State, Virginia and Louisville.

But Ramsey minds still drifts at times to, of all things, the decathalon. He's a natural when it comes to sprints and the long jump, but on longer runs and the pole vault he has to work a little harder.

"You have to be tough mentally and physically," he said. "It's hard. But it's fun at the same time. If you can compete at it, it shows a lot."

Ramsey uses the same focus on the football field when he's shutting down opposing receivers. He insists there are even times when the constantly smiling, tie-wearing persona is put away.

"Off the field and on the field Jalen are totally different," Ramsey said. "Not in a bad way but on that field, I wouldn't label it as cocky but I can be cocky. Playing defensive back, you always compete. It's how you respond and your confidence [matters] when you're lined up against that receiver.

"You can't be scared or he'll dominate you the whole game. Everyone gets beat. It's part of the game but it's how you bounce back. Defensive back is the hardest position to play and you have to play it with confidence."

Brentwood coach Cody White, who was just recently hired, hasn't yet seen that other Jalen.

"He's always got the smile so if you say intensity is looking like Mike Singletary, no, I haven't seen that," White joked. "He has a great spirit. Everything he does, he's good at. It doesn't matter."

Ramsey's college interest is as vast as his talent. He grew up rooting for Miami, Southern Cal and Oregon, has strong ties to Tennessee and has interest in Vanderbilt's academic offerings.

"They're one of the top in my list," Ramsey said of the nearby Commodores, who he recently visited.

Ramsey has also visited Auburn, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Louisville and Tennessee. He is most familiar with the Vols since he knows several players on the roster. He also trains regularly with former Tennessee defensive back Buck Fitzgerald.

"Of course they always tell me what a great place UT is," Ramsey said.

Fandom, however, won't help the Vols. Ramsey said he never grew up rooting for Tennessee. Still, he is fond of its coaches, particularly defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri and cornerbacks coach Derrick Ansley.

"He's very confident," Ramsey said of Ansley. "The one time I got to visit there we sat down and watched tape. I liked his schemes. He's young and he knows what he's talking about. You can tell he likes to have fun."

Ramsey likes to have fun as well, even though that's sometimes hard to do at cornerback with wariness looming across the line of scrimmage.

"They don't throw to my side, which is a compliment, but it gets boring over there," he said with a grin.

Still, it beats the pole vault.