Every season, one member of the Texas Tech football team is given the honor of wearing No. 3 as the player who most exemplifies the characteristics of what Joey McGuire refers to as “the brand”. This year, that distinction belongs to linebacker Bryce Ramirez who this week was also nominated for the 2023 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.
Of course, every Red Raider fan is aware of the difficult road that Ramirez has had to travel over the past year. Suffering a gruesome broken leg against N.C. State in September of 2022, an injury that would require multiple surgeries in North Carolina before he was able to return home to Lubbock, Ramirez was in danger of seeing his football career come to an early end.
However, after months of rehabilitation, the senior from Missouri City, Texas was able to return to the field in 2023. Thus far, he’s amassed eight tackles (six solo) while playing both inside and outside linebacker.
Ramirez’s impact can’t be measured by statistics alone, though. He is a leader in the locker room and his voice carries significant weight with his teammates.
“There’s not a more fitting member of our program to represent The Brand jersey than Bryce Ramirez,” McGuire said prior to the season. “He is The Brand each and every day through his actions. I know, personally, I can’t wait to see Bryce run out of the tunnel wearing that jersey for the first time. That will be a special moment that all Red Raiders should celebrate as Bryce is a terrific young man who is a great representative of everything we want in our program.”
Even prior to the broken leg, Ramirez had an inspirational journey as a college football player. Arriving on campus as a walk-on in 2019, it would be two seasons until he would step foot on the field for the Red Raiders. However, he would persevere and in 2021 he appeared in seven games as part of the kickoff coverage team.
Last season, after being put on scholarship, he earned a starting job at outside linebacker where he was supposed to be a disruptive force. However, the leg injury ended his 2022 campaign in just the third game of the season.
Ramirez has registered a tackle in each of the last five games including two against both Houston and Oregon. He’s also become a versatile player filling in at inside linebacker against Houston when the Red Raiders were without both starters, Jesiah Pierre and Jacob Rodriguez.
He has sported No. 3 all season, a number made significant by McGuire as the program honors Luke Siegel, the late son of former Texas Tech tennis head coach Tim Siegel. The No. 3 was Luke Siegel’s favorite number and it now carries special significance in the Tech football program.
In 2015, when Luke was only nine years old, he was involved in a golf cart rollover that left him pinned under the cart. The ensuing traumatic brain and chest injuries would leave Luke confined to a wheelchair until his passing in August of 2021.
To honor his life and his memory, the “Team Luke – Hope for Minds” foundation was established to support children who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and provide resources to their families. Of course, each time Ramirez (or any other player who will wear the No. 3 for Texas Tech during McGuire’s tenure) takes the field, Luke Siegel will be remembered fondly by Red Raider fans.
Ramirez is also an inspiration to anyone who knows his story. Now, he’s being recognized by the Football Writers Association of America.
According to the FWAA website, the Courage Award is annually handed out to a player who displays “courage on or off the field, including overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through hardship. The winner of the award will be included in festivities during Capital One Orange Bowl week and receive his trophy at an on-field presentation.”
Ramirez did leave the game against Baylor last Saturday with another injury and his status for this week’s game against Kansas State is uncertain. However, there is little doubt that he’ll be back at some point this season as he continues his remarkable comeback while also honoring the memory of Luke Siegel, which is fitting because both are inspirations for Texas Tech fans and anyone else who hears their stories.