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The Top 25 MAC Players of 2018: #15 Gus Ragland, QB, Miami

The Victory Bus looks to keep on rolling in his senior season.

Akron v Miami Ohio Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

What a wild ride it has been for Gus the Victory Bus.

After a great career at Moeller High School in the Cincinnati area (where he scored eight touchdowns his senior year in the state championship game against Mentor), he was a part of Chuck Martin’s first recruiting class at Miami. Ragland was redshirted during 2014 and played sparingly in 2015 despite rushing 57 times at 5.8 yards per rush and boasting a 159.9 quarterback rating. Injuries kept him out of the first half of the 2016 season, but his return led to a RedHawk resurgence as he recorded 1,739 total yards, 19 total TDs, (17 passing, two rushing) and only threw one interception in the last seven games. This performance set the stage for a big 2017 for Gus Ragland and Miami...

But the QB battled with injuries and regressed last season as the Red and White stumbled to a 5-7 record. He was inefficient (56.3 completion percentage, 7.5 yards per attempt, 19:7 TD:INT ratio, 1.8 yards per rush on 73 attempts) and made critical errors that decided games for Miami (the pick-six that put the team down by two scores against Marshall, the baffling decision to not eat the ball and throw a game-clinching pick-six against Cincinnati, the interception late against Eastern Michigan made the ‘Hawks comeback bid vastly harder).

However, 2018 should be a bounce-back year for Ragland after a humbling 2017 as the QB boasts a 9-1 record as a starter in conference games. Miami returns a veteran offensive line and running back corps as well as explosive wide receiver James Gardner. Miami will have to replace Ryan Smith at TE as well as find a legitimate #2 WR to complement Gardner, but the most important thing for Miami’s offense is to see Ragland be more efficient and manage the offense. He doesn’t have the elite physical traits that you typically see in a college QB (under 6’1”, good but not great arm strength) so efficiency needs to be his greatest strength. If he can return to his 2016 form, he can once again establish himself as one of the top QBs in the MAC.