It's not especially common for the words "senator" or "congressman" to be thrown around when discussing the potential future of a high school football player.
But Central York's Erik Ramirez isn't like most football players.
Despite his larger than average size — 6-feet, 2 inches and 255 pounds — Ramirez is anything but a "big, dumb jock."
So it was not a real shock to Central football coach Brad Livingston when he received the news that Ramirez was this year's recipient of the $4,000 Charles Larson Memorial Football Scholarship.
The scholarship, named after a late Quarterback Club of York booster, will officially be awarded to Ramirez at the QB Club's awards banquet on Monday, Feb. 10, at the San Carlos Restaurant. It will mark the 38th year that the QB Club has awarded a scholarship to a senior York County football player.
"I know it sounds a little strange, and not what most people would be thinking, but Erik is a very mature young man," Livingston said. "It wouldn't surprise me at all someday to see him in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives. He has many goals in life and he's able to articulate them very well."
No one need look any further than how Ramirez interacted with his teammates to get a sense that Livingston may be on to something. The senior, who is still in the middle of his college selection process, was a leader both vocally and by example throughout his career at Central.
"He's a pretty impressive young guy," Livingston said. "It was very clear from the beginning that he was a hard worker. He came into the program and did everything that we asked him to do. And along the way he matured into a leader who actually took on a strong leadership role with his line as both a junior and a senior. He was very much a coach on the field."
While Ramirez, who was a finalist for the scholarship along with four other York County high school seniors, has a definite interest in politics and public service, he's not ready to throw his hat into that ring quite yet.
"I like politics and I like the fact that you have a chance to make a difference, but I don't really know if that's in the cards for me," he said. "I know I want to go to college and I want to go to law school and we'll see where it takes me from there."
Roy Robbins, the chairman of the QB Club's scholarship committee, said there wasn't much of a decision to make for the selection committee after meeting Ramirez.
"He was very impressive as far as we felt," Robbins said. "He was actually pretty much an overwhelming choice. He's just an all-around impressive young man."
Ramirez, who was informed that he won the scholarship just a few hours after his interview with the committee concluded, was a bit surprised with how quickly he found out.
"I was shocked at how (the committee) could think so highly of me," he said. "So it's nice to think about that."
The scholarship — which isn't about rewarding the best player in the league — provided Ramirez a rare chance to celebrate. Being an offensive lineman, it was almost like scoring a game-winning touchdown, which is a tad weird for him.
"Oh, my God," Ramirez said. "I'm not used to the glory. Playing on the offensive line and defensive line, we're the workhorses. We don't make a lot of plays, but I like to think we're the most important. So being in the spotlight for a little bit is not something that I'm used to ... but it's something that I can get used to."
In addition to awarding Ramirez his scholarship, the QB Club will also award two $1,000 scholarships to Northeastern's Logan Neiman and York Catholic's Maggie Javitt.
The football Players of the Year in York-Adams League Division I, Division II and Division III will also be honored at the banquet. York High's James Way was the Division I Player of the Year, New Oxford's Wes Beans was the Division II Player of the Year and Littlestown's Trevor Hildebrand was the Division III Player of the Year.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.