Healthy Ramsey ready to anchor D-line

NEWTON, Mass. -- Disappointment, frustration and pain. That's what Kaleb Ramsey found himself dealing with last season, after he got hurt just one quarter into his senior season.

The 6-foot-3, 288-pound defensive tackle was supposed to be a big part of the Eagles' defense. Instead, he was able to play in just two games due to plantar fasciitis.

"It's very hard, it's depressing," Ramsey said of the injury. "First quarter of my senior season. I came back with a different mindset, more hungry for the next season."

Ramsey was granted a medical hardship waiver for a fifth year of eligibility, allowing there to be a next season. And now he's trying to make the most of it.

"I just worked my butt off," he said. "I just ate healthy. Toned down the social life. Just took it seriously."

Frank Spaziani knows a healthy, focused Ramsey can make a serious impact.

"Kaleb is the most talented, if you will, out of the group," the fourth-year BC head coach said. "When he's healthy, he's as good a defensive lineman as we've had around here. I'm not saying he's an NFL guy, but when he's healthy and playing he's as good as we've had.

"His problem has been 12 games and playing every week. Looking forward to a big game from him on Saturday."

And while his career statistics aren't eye-popping (58 tackles, 4.5 sacks), the big man is tough to block when he's right.

Spaziani cited the D-line as an area of concern entering the season, calling the unit's play last year "anemic."

That's nothing new to Ramsey.

"I mean, I've been hearing that since I've been here, 'D-line is not putting pressure on the quarterback, D-line is not good,'" he said. "This offseason that's something we wanted to change. We focused on it this preseason a lot."

With Ramsey healthy and leading a unit that includes a couple of players who were thrust into the fire as freshmen last season in Brian Mihalik (6-8, 272) and Dominic Appiah (6-5, 291), the coach sounded optimistic about the unit's chances to improve.

"I think we'll be better there," Spaziani said. "The indications are in practice that we're better. When we have Ramsey there, we're better. I think we have the makings of a better defensive line, but now we have to go do it on Saturday."

BC opens the 2012 season at home against Miami (3:30 p.m., ESPN2), the same team the Eagles finished the 2011 season with a win against. And after all the headaches he endured last season, Ramsey will do everything he can to carry over any momentum that win generated.

"I know this is my last shot," he said, "and I just want to play 12 full games, every practice, every minute, every snap be out there and just help us win."

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.