EDWARDSVILLE - Evan Ramirez was one of the key players on defense for Edwardsville, and now he's looking forward to being a key player for Quincy University.

Ramirez, a linebacker for the Tigers, signed a letter-of-intent to attend Quincy and play for the Hawks in a ceremony held Thursday evening at Edwardsville High, and in an interview, felt very comfortable with his new college team.

"They were just like, coaching staff, I felt most comfortable with," Ramirez said, "and I think Quincy's on the rise. I want to go there, and hopefully, compete in that conference (the Great Lakes Valley Conference), and I just think it's the best fit for me and my family."

The GLVC is considered one of the best NCAA Division-II athletic conferences in the nation, and Ramirez is very excited to play next season at Quincy.

"I'm very excited," Ramirez said. "When I was choosing a school, I wanted to play good competition, and they play some of the best of the best, so if I wanted to prove myself, I should go there."

Ramirez also considered Central Missouri State and McKendree University in Lebanon among his last three schools, but Ramirez felt Quincy was the right fit for him.

"I felt the most connection with coach Sean Kelly," Ramirez said, "which is the (defensive) coordinator. Then (head) coach (Gary) Bass; you can tell he's a good guy, just has a lot of hospitality for us when we came over to visit."

Ramirez plans to major in business, but isn't sure what part of the business world he'll enter. On the field, his accomplishments at Edwardsville and what he'll bring to Quincy are many.

"Evan, three-year starter for us at linebacker," said Tigers head coach Matt Martin, "loves the weight room, hard worker, he was a physical player for us. I see him being able to have a successful career at Quincy; I think it's a good fit."

Ramirez's goals for his first year playing for the Hawks are simple.

"I hope to go there, get some playing time," Ramirez said, "hopefully win the conference championship, and so on."

Ramirez's favorite memory of playing for the Tigers was in 2017, when the Tigers made it to the last four of the Class 8A playoffs, losing to Wilmette Loyola Academy, but winning a come from behind game against Minooka to advance to the semifinals.

"Definitely winning the quarterfinal game against Minooka my sophomore year," Ramirez said.

Ramirez will always treasure his time with the Tigers, and have many fond memories of the team.

"Yeah, it does," Ramirez said. "It was awesome. It's been a heck of a ride."

As for the future, Ramirez is very optimistic.

"Just go play college ball, and have a fun time," Ramirez said, "and get my degree from Quincy University."

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