The Montclair State University football team has had something special for the past two seasons with the dynamic duo of graduate student defensive back Mike Ramos and sophomore running back Dan Ramos. And it all starts with the older brother Mike, who has been with the program for five years.
Mike is entering his fifth season with the Montclair State football team, and over the past four years, he has greatly impacted the team. Mike has collected three interceptions, three sacks, 41 solo tackles and eight tackles for a loss of yards. He’s been a big part of this Red Hawk team as a player, leader and captain this year.
Nobody on the team has developed a better form of chemistry with Mike than fifth-year defensive back Brennan Ray, who is also one of the team’s captains.
“We’ve created a brotherhood between Mike and me,” Ray said. “Our chemistry has just aligned to where I know exactly where he’s going to be, he knows exactly where I’m going to be on the field. We move like strings, like magnets.”
Ray also talked about how younger brother Dan has been taken as a “little brother” by the whole team and not just his actual brother.
“We all took him under our wing as a little brother,” Ray said. “Playing with Mike for four or five years and then having Dan come on the team was like having another little brother. Dan has been following our lead ever since. It’s kind of cool to see him evolve and then him [passing] down the torch.”
Ray looks forward to playing the rest of the season with Mike by his side and sees a lot of potential in what Dan can do on special teams and the offensive side of the ball.
Associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Palazzo had a fun and easy time recruiting Dan to Montclair State after seeing his brother play for four years.
“It was great recruiting Dan because Mike was the trailblazer,” Palazzo said. “With Mike, we got introduced to him and his family, got to know him and the kind of person he is. So, it makes it a lot easier for the younger brother [to know] what kind of stock they’re coming from.”
Mike had committed to Montclair State without much recruitment needed. Seeing what he has done for the Red Hawks over the years made the decision to recruit Dan that much easier.
Dan is now in his second year here at Montclair State and has made a name for himself as the Red Hawks kick returner. Last year he had 10 attempts in returns and totaled 275 yards in eight games averaging 27.5 yards per return.
Following in his older brother’s footsteps, Dan knew he wanted to come to play football for Montclair State.
“Once Mike came here and told me about the program, it was kind of a no-brainer,” Dan said. “This is kind of where I wanted to be. I liked the way it sounded and went to a few games in high school. I wanted to come here from the start.”
Dan has really enjoyed being able to play and compete with his brother on the same team for the past two years.
“It’s been great,” Dan said. “Obviously, we grew up competing our whole life, but he was four years ahead of me. It’s really cool, just growing up competing and now we’re competing together, it’s awesome.”
Just as Dan was excited to come and play for Montclair State, his older brother was just as excited for him to join the team, and may have even played a small part in the recruiting process.
“I was always pushing and edging him, ‘Hey, come to Montclair State,’” Mike said. “So, I kind of knew in the back of my mind he was going to come here. Obviously, he was growing up at the time so he got to make his own decisions for himself, but I was always pushing for him to come here and play with me. I’m glad it worked out, I’m glad he’s here and I’m glad we get to spend two years together.”
Mike has loved the opportunity to be a sort-of mentor for his younger brother and guide him through each year.
“I’ve been here for five years so I know the way things run around here,” Mike said. “I like being able to help him and being able to be someone he can look up to and go to when he needs help. On the field and off the field, I’ve experienced everything here. Being able to be there for him and help him out with whatever he needs, I really enjoy that.”
The Ramos brothers have that sibling rivalry that makes them competitive both on and off the field and positively impacts their relationship. Both are grateful to play with each other and learn from each other, which very few get to do.