Macalester Scots Senior O-Line Come with Big Hits, Quick Wit
While this may not be the most appropriate way to begin a sports article, I want to employ my fellow writers out there to stop spending as much time talking to the quarterbacks, running backs and linebackers. If they want to have an interview that will leave them laughing out loud and hear stories that will leave them smiling and giggling to themselves for hours afterward, then spend some time with a group of offensive lineman; there is nothing like it.
The Macalester Scots are having a renaissance as the team has jumped out to a 6-1 record this season, and this weekend will face Carroll University in a game that will likely decide who will win the North Division of the Midwest Conference (MWC). The Scots have put up impressive numbers on defense, ranking first or second in every defensive category in the MWC, but they have also shown incredible progress in their offense, especially on the ground, where the team ranks third in rushing yards per game. The offense has seen its numbers get better and better each week, and a big part of that success is due to the outstanding play of three men: Offensive linemen John Stephens, Djoser Ramsey and Spencer Weckwerth.
These three men have played together their entire college careers, and in a sport that requires its linemen to have an incredible bond of trust there is no greater one out there than with these three. It is clear that John, Djoser and Spencer not only enjoy playing together, but really like each other as well. They revel in the success of each other and see that success for one as a success for all.
What makes the trio such a unique group is that this is not a bunch of sweaty 300-pound guys that people stereotypically think of when the position of offensive lineman comes to mind. The three are Macalester College students after all, and one does not achieve that place unless they are known more for being men of character and brilliance than dominance on the field. For this group they are most definitely both for the Macalester Scots.
Djoser and Spencer are both working toward becoming doctors; Spenser wanting to become an orthopedic surgeon and Djoser will be pursuing a degree in dentistry. John is studying to be a professional actor and wants to work in the theatre, honing his craft before moving onto films.
The diversity of the three is what makes them so special. These are three guys who love playing together and love the camaraderie that exists between them, but that friendship and love for each other comes from an appreciation of each other as individuals. They are genuinely proud of the success of each other and enjoy that nuisances of each one’s personality as much as they enjoy the solidarity of playing together each Saturday.
Djoser Ramsey describes himself as a very “unique” person, which is one of the reasons why he wanted to come to Macalester. He wanted the opportunity to grow as a person while still being able to express his unique personality, both in the class and on the field. He admits that “uniqueness” has been a challenge for his coaches at times. “Sometimes I don’t always see eye-to-eye with the coaches on the day-to-day minutia that goes on, but Coach J (Jennison) and the other coaches know I want what is best for the team, and that I will give my all.”
His two teammates could not possibly agree more that Djoser is an incredibly unique young man whose odd quirks are a source of great amusement to them all. “Let me tell you about Djoser,” excitedly begins Spencer. “This guy just goes about doing what he needs to get done. Sometimes he will just sleep instead of turning in an assignment, and he will just tell me, ‘Hey, I was tired.’ Djoser is all about what he needs to do at that moment. He doesn’t think about the next day, the next hour; it’s all about what he needs right now.”
John also enjoys the quirkiness of his line mate. “He is such a goof ball dude. While we are watching the scout team he is always messing with the guys, yelling things like ‘Hey, your shoes are untied. How are you going to run that route with your shoes untied?’ He just gets us laughing.”
While he has these odd traits, Djoser is also a very bright young man who has earned the respect of his team. “Djoser has so many things to him. When he lines up he is very quiet, but he is also very aware of his opponent and himself. He can figure out his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses the first time he lines up across from someone. That’s why he is so good at what he does,” points out Stephens. He also adds, “He is charming and very infectious. I always feel on the upswing after talking to him.”
John has his own quirky traits, as Spencer was happy to point out. “John Stephens runs on his own time. We have to be there at five o’clock, five o’clock comes around, ‘Where’s John.’ He comes around about 5;15, 5:20. To him that is basically five o’clock. John’s the guy who comes late, but when he gets there he’s all fired up, in your face trying to push you over.”
Ramsey agrees and adds some other aspects of Stephens’ character. “Baby John is very contemplative. He is just silent and is the one who is always thinking and analyzing things.”
Their assessment of John is quite accurate. He is a very quiet guy who is extremely contemplative about what he wants to say. It is fascinating to watch him while he formulates ideas, because it is clear that he is processing his thoughts like a computer processes data. On the field there is no doubt that he is sizing up his opponent much like a Terminator scans over his target. Silent but deadly is the best way to describe him.
While Stephens and Ramsey are incredible students of the game and their opponent, they both feel that no one matches the observational skills of Weckwerth. “The emotion is there, but he is like above us in terms of his thought process. He is smarter than the quarterbacks. You know how they say that the quarterbacks know the whole field, but Spenser, down on the line, knows the whole field, which is so weird, because when you are down in the trenches you only can see the guy right in front of you, but he can see the whole field. He’ll come into the huddle telling us, ‘Their cornerbacks are trying to jump the route.’ We are always like ‘How did you see that?’ ” John explains.
Away from football John explains that Spencer has a side that many may not be aware of. “Off the field he is probably the prettiest of all of us. I have never seen him without a girl on his arm. Everyone thinks that lineman are these goofy guys that aren’t very adept socially, but not Spencer. He could be like some super model from Venice.”
Ramsey points out that Weckwerth is that and a lot more. “J.G. (Spencer) just has all that enthusiasm and emotional depth that is just amazing. He is the most passionate guy on our football team. He is always working hard to solve the problem. If there is as problem on the field, he’s going to figure it out and he will figure it out right now.”
To Djoser he sees the benefits of playing with both. “J.G. (Spencer) and John, we make a great group together. We all bring different strengths to the table. If I need to get fired up I am going to turn to J.G., and if I need some solidarity I am going to turn to John. Whatever I need I can look to my guys and get it figured out.”
This Saturday the three seniors will take the Macalester Scots field for the last time at home for their beloved school. For Spencer he is already thinking about how sad it will be to dress for his last home game. “I am already thinking this will be my last time I will dressing in big blue. That is very emotional for me.” The other two have not let it sink in yet, but it is easy to tell they are effected as well. “I don’t know if I have really let it hit me yet, but probably after Saturday there is going to be some emotion,” Stephens laments.
John Stephens, Spencer Weckwerth and Djoser Ramsey have been an integral part in the rise of the Macalester Scots program. They would not admit that, because they are men of humility that sees the bigger picture of what makes Macalester such a special place to play. The truth is that they are the very reason that Macalester is so special a place. Their intelligence, commitment to each other and love for the game make them great role models for their team and for their school. The school will suffer a big loss when they graduate, but with degrees in these three men’s hands the world will look a lot brighter.
By Robert Pannier