Alex Ramart

Alex Ramart

If Alex Ramart’s days in high school are any indication, the IUP Crimson Hawks might have just landed themselves one heck of a quarterback.

Ramart, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound native of Richmond, Texas, has enrolled at IUP and joined the football program with eyes on being the Crimson Hawks’ next great signal caller. He comes to IUP after spending five semesters at Division I Akron.

Ramart has two years of eligibility to use at IUP.

“We saw his high school film,” said Crimson Hawks head coach Paul Tortorella, “and it was unbelievable. Just unbelievable.”

In his two years as the starter at Foster High School, which is about an hour southwest of Houston, Ramart passed for 6,083 yards and 79 touchdowns.

Ramart is one of four new players IUP has added to the roster for the spring semester, with three of them being transfers: Ramart, linebacker Connor Kelly (Edinboro) and cornerback Bryce Gibson (Youngstown State). The fourth player is freshman running back Dayjure Stewart, who spent last fall at Fork Union Military Academy.

During his senior season of high school, Ramart threw for 3,496 yards and 47 touchdowns, with 2,032 of those yards and 33 touchdowns going to classmate CeeDee Lamb, who college football fans will know as the star receiver for Oklahoma and one of the top prospects for this spring’s NFL draft.

Ramart saw limited playing time at Akron the past three seasons, throwing only 32 passes (with nine completions) in six games. He was the Zips’ third-string QB last fall and didn’t get into any games as the program slumped to an 0-12 record.

Looking for a change of scenery and an opportunity to play — Akron had switched offensive systems when Tom Arth became the head coach a year ago after Terry Bowden was fired — Ramart put his name in the NCAA Transfer Portal and made contact with IUP, which is looking for a new quarterback after the departure of Quinton Maxwell, who set a school record with 3,130 passing yards in his lone season with the Crimson Hawks.

At IUP, Ramart will compete with redshirt sophomore Javon Davis for the starting job. Tortorella said Davis will enter spring drills in April as the first-team quarterback, but it will be a true competition, and Ramart knows where he stands.

“We said, ‘look, you got a chance to win the job this spring,’” Tortorella said. “‘If you win it by default, we’re going to look for another guy. If you win it because you’re good, we won’t look for another guy. So, he knows what the deal is.”

Should Ramart win the job, he will be the fourth straight starting quarterback to come to IUP as a Division I transfer, following Maxwell (Ohio University), Lenny Williams (Temple) and Chase Haslett (Illinois).

Kelly and Gibson also have the opportunity to win starting jobs for a team that has some holes to fill. With the departure of seniors Damon Lloyd and Nick Amendola, IUP needs two starting linebackers, and Kelly, the younger brother of former Crimson Hawks wide receiver Zac Kelly, could be one of the answers. In two seasons at Edinboro, Kelly recorded 76 tackles, including 16 for loss and five sacks.

Gibson, a native of Johnstown, could emerge as a starter in the IUP secondary after the graduation of JR Stevens, a three-year starter. Gibson played in 33 games at Youngstown State, with 100 total tackles with 22 pass breakups and one interception.

Stewart will join a crowded backfield, with IUP expected to return tailbacks Justice Evans, Malik Anderson and Adam Houser, but he has a pedigree that suggests he will be hard to keep on the sideline. During his senior season at William Penn High, Stewart rushed for an astonishing 3,045 yards and scored 40 touchdowns.

Stewart’s rushing total is the ninth-highest single-season total in the history of Pennsylvania high school football.

The 6-foot, 200-pound Stewart initially chose Illinois State, but he later decided to attend Fork Union, a college-prep academy in Virginia. He will have four years of eligibility at IUP.