TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - He knew the injury was severe. That Sunrise Mountain helmet had made direct contact on Lathan Ransom’s 20-yard punt return. His elbow was swollen. Badly.
“It was shattered,” said Ransom.
Two games prior, the first of Salpointe’s 2017 playoff run, the sophomore initially injured the elbow when he laid out for a fantastic grab against Pueblo. He iced it without giving too much thought. Now though, he couldn’t bend his arm while running. Ransom tried to play through it. By halftime it was clear something was very wrong. Coaches made the decision and pulled him.
“Me being so young, so dramatic, I thought my life was over.”
His life was not over. His football career, however, was put on hold.
Salpointe defeated Sunrise Mountain to advance to the 4A State Championship. Two weeks later, Ransom watched from the sideline as his Lancers fell to Saguaro, 28-7.
“There’s only so many times you can make it to state,” he said. “We had the blessing of making it again last year but, for me, at that point, I didn’t think we were going to make it again. It was so much hard work in the season. To play all those games. To make it. Then to get hurt. I was destroyed emotionally.”
For Ransom, that was the bottom.
Wednesday, he found himself near the top, if not at the peak, when he verbally committed to play for Ohio State, choosing the Buckeyes over LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and Texas. To go from one state of mind to another took plenty of hard work but just as much mental fortitude.
“Believe in myself is really what I learned to do.”
It was not the easiest lesson to learn given his emotions following the 2017 season.
“To get hurt right before the state championship, that really did a toll on me,” he said. “That’s when I started working really hard. To have the success that I had the year after was just a blessing.”
Ransom finished his junior campaign with 82 tackles, 53 of them solo, and 6 interceptions for 138 yards. On offense, he scored 6 times as a receiver racking up 625 yards. By the end, Ransom had put himself squarely in the conversation of the country’s best high school safety in his class.
“The workouts? You guys don’t understand the workouts I be doing,” he insisted. “Three workouts a day. Early in the morning. Late at night. I’m just hungry. Really just want to be successful.”
He’ll take that mindset to The Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio in 2020. But for now, he’s focused on his senior season. And as he looks back on the past two years leading up to this point, Ransom knows what he would tell his younger self.
“One game’s not going to ruin my whole career. Just keep focused in the classroom and on the football field and just grind.”
Salpointe Catholic kicks off the 2019 season Friday August 30th at home against Dobson.