Mustang linebacker Charlie Ramirez Jr. may have made an early impact in the 2017 season by intercepting a pass during the opener against Reedley College and returning it for a touchdown, but the sophomore stand-out has been making big plays all of his career.
“That play not only set the tone for the game, but for the entire season,” said Ramirez, who was named one of the team captains this year. The title is one LMC Head Coach Chris Shipe said Ramirez rightfully deserves.
“Charlie was voted a defensive captain by his teammates,” Shipe said. “His hard work, commitment, and his leadership are the reasons his teammates voted for him.”
Ramirez’s original choice was to attend college at Diablo Valley College, but he said that the shorter commute was key factor in him instead choosing to go to LMC and become a Mustang. He also said that he felt a much closer bond with the coaches and was already familiar with several members of the team.
A journey always starts somewhere, and in Ramirez’s case it all began in the Pittsburg Jr. Pirates football system, where he developed skills that helped him early in his career.
“They helped me find myself,” Ramirez said.
One of the coaches who had the most influence on him was his father, Charlie Ramirez Sr., an LMC alumnus who serves as the defensive coordinator at Pittsburg High School.
“Certainly isn’t easy growing up the son of a coach,” Ramirez Sr. said. “For me it’s been great to watch him play in college because I just get to sit back and enjoy watching him – as a dad and not his coach. That pick six he had was the first time I’ve been able to cheer as a parent for him since he was in junior high!”
Ramirez Jr. said that having his dad as a coach served mainly as an advantage because he was able to to learn knowledge both on and off the field.
“I always had a call on defensive downs,” he said, adding that when his dad was planning what to tell the team he would “usually have input as a player.”
Even the tough times were helpful.
“Taking the conversation home, it becomes debates on which is which… they would be very productive conversations at home,” he said. “But just the fact that we would always have voices on each other’s actions was stressful, yet productive.”
Like any other junior college athlete, Ramirez’s ultimate goal is to play college football, especially at the Division 1 level. However, according to gobigrecruiting.com, the average college linebacker is 6 feet 2 inches and 220 pounds – Ramirez is just 5 feet 10 inches, 200 pounds. He acknowledges that many college recruiters will take his size into consideration, but Ramirez said that fact fueled him to perform better on the field.
“It made me play like I had a chip on my shoulder,” Ramirez said. “I played like I had something to prove, and it really made me grind even more.”
Despite being seen as an undersized linebacker, Ramirez is regarded to be one of the best at that position in Pittsburg’s history.
As a Pirate, he was able to combine for 244 tackles and seven interceptions. Along with those accolades, he was named First Team All-BVAL two years in a row. He was even able to reel in offers from colleges such as Sterling in Kansas and Hastings in Nebraska.
His name is now forever in the Pittsburg record book, as he broke his own father’s record for most tackles in a single season (132).
“I didn’t even know it was his record,” Ramirez Jr. said. “I just played every game like I wanted to break every record possible.”
Beyond football, Ramirez has a dream of serving the public. An uncle, who passed away five years ago, was a firefighter and Ramirez hopes to follow in his footsteps via LMC’s Fire Science program.
As for the rest of the season, Ramirez hopes to become an All-State player, a step toward achieving his dream of playing Division 1 football at any school where the oportunity is given.