As insurance policies go when it comes to quarterbacks, Winston-Salem State has a good one in Naiil Ramadan. While sophomore Dominique Graves is the clear-cut starter after an impressive freshman season, Ramadan will be there as some help as key backup.
Ramadan comes to the Rams with a boat-load of experience thanks to his four seasons (one as a redshirt) at N.C. Central. Last season, the Eagles went 5-6 and Ramadan started seven games. He entered the transfer portal after the season ended.
“I knew about the tradition they had here, and I came up and met some of the coaches and the players, and I really liked it,” said Ramadan, who graduated from N.C. Central with a 3.0 GPA and a degree in behavioral social science. “It was just a family atmosphere, and I graduated from N.C. Central, so I wanted to play one more year.”
Quarterbacks coach Ryan McManus saw Ramadan, who is from Charlotte, was looking to transfer and began the conversations about Ramadan coming to WSSU.
Ramadan, a graduate of Rocky River High in Charlotte, redshirted his first season at N.C. Central in 2015 and then played in 10 games over the next two seasons at quarterback. At 6-foot and 190 pounds, Ramadan is a dual-threat quarterback who can air it out with his arm when called upon.
Last season, he completed 76 of 159 passes for 704 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions, and he also rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown. His best game was a 169-yard, three-touchdown performance on 15-of-28 passing against St. Aug’s.
Robert Massey, the interim head coach, says having Ramadan in camp will be a big help to the offense because of his experience.
“He’s got all the tools, so we’re glad he decided to come here,” Massey said.
Last season, Graves was thrust into a starting role after Rod Tinsley was lost for the season with a concussion. Graves went 4-1 as a starter and was the CIAA offensive freshman of the year.
Ramadan is looking forward to pushing Graves and Miles Timmons, a redshirt junior quarterback from Greensboro, during the preseason.
“I think competition is a good thing for everybody,” Ramadan said. “Just within your team that competition in practice makes you better.”
Ramadan, who is working toward a master’s degree in business, says what has also helped with his adjustment in coming to WSSU are all the players on the team from Charlotte.
“We don’t have a long history at Rocky River, so we all know each other; so it’s nice that there are a few guys who went to Rocky River who are on this team,” Ramadan said. “I played against some of the other Charlotte guys in high school, so it’s cool that I know them and now we are on the same team.”
At Rocky River, Ramadan threw for 3,231 yards and 28 touchdowns as he completed 62% of his passes.
At N.C. Central, he was part of the MEAC championship team in 2016 that went 8-0 in conference play and won nine games overall.
“That (MEAC championship) ring is at home,” he said, “but I wouldn’t mind winning another championship ring.”