Ramsay Eyeing Return

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Following numerous setbacks during his North Carolina career, sixth-year fullback Devon Ramsay is returning to full health and eager to get back on the field.

No one would have faulted Ramsay for giving up on playing college football and transitioning into the next phase of his life. The long list of obstacles that emerged in the Red Bank, N.J. native's path would be comical if not so tragic.

Ramsay was saddled with a shoulder injury in 2007 and 2008, but appeared to be settling into his starting position in the offensive backfield with a solid performance against LSU in the 2010 season opener.

The NCAA, however, ruled Ramsay permanently ineligible just five games into the season based on claims of academic misconduct. It took his family enlisting the help of former North Carolina Supreme Court judge Bob Orr to force the NCAA to recant in February 2011 and reinstate Ramsay.

Seven months later, the 6-foot-2, 250-pounder tore the MCL and ACL in his left knee in UNC's 2011 season opener against James Madison. After being granted a sixth year of eligibility, his return hit yet another setback with a second knee surgery in May to remove scar tissue.

Today, Ramsay's knee is finally strong enough for him to participate with his teammates in practice.

"The main thing he's been doing is trying to get himself healthy," head coach Larry Fedora told reporters following Wednesday's practice. "That's the thing. He hasn't been released yet. He's been able to start doing a few things in practice. He's getting closer, but he's not there yet."

Ramsay has slowly worked back into practice and currently is able to squat 500 pounds and power clean 330 pounds.

"We've been on a progression program from just doing seven-on-seven's to team periods to inside runs," Ramsay told InsideCarolina.com this week. "[Tuesday] was the last of inside runs."

Despite the hard work rehabbing his knee, it may be tough for Ramsay to find a way on the field in Fedora's spread offense. The system does not call for a traditional fullback and Ramsay has not played another position since he arrived in Chapel Hill.

"You know we don't get much work at fullback in our offense," Ramsay said. "I've been doing a lot of trying to help the defense get better so I've been working [at] tight end, running back and h-back.

"Unfortunately I didn't have time prior to really show off any of my skill set, so I'm really happy to get in wherever I can. Just hopefully they can look at some film from the defensive side of things and see what I can do."

With injuries to tight end Sean Fitzpatrick, as well as running back Travis Riley, Ramsay hopes to add a little bit of depth to the offense. His experience catching the ball out of the backfield and his running ability both serve him well in working with the tight ends and running backs.

Ramsay, who turns 25 in December, said he "definitely" expects to play this season. However, it is up to the coaching staff to determine when he plays and what position he plays. No matter what they decide, Ramsay just wants to suit up and help his team in any way possible.

"Honestly, I'd be happy to do anything, whether that be tight end, fullback or running back," Ramsay said. "I'm just hungry. I'm out here trying to get all the scraps I can."

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