“The battle for The Axe, I’ve been living with that since I was a kid. To be able to commit during Big Game Week, it’s surreal.” – Evan Rambo
Evan Rambo grew up watching the California Golden Bears. The heroes of his youth need only single names: Marshawn. DeSean. Rodgers. That’s why, growing up in southern California, Rambo – Cal’s latest commit – grew up a Bears fan, and why he flipped his commitment from San Diego State to Cal as Big Game Week began.
“DeSean Jackson, Marshawn Lynch, Aaron Rodgers, that’s always been the team I rooted for ever since I was a kid,” says Rambo, who now gets to wear the same blue and gold that he saw those three wear on Saturdays in the fall. “Just watching them, seeing how far they’ve come in the NFL, I thought, ‘Maybe.’ It never crossed my mind that it was something that could really happen. It’s a surreal moment. I always felt that I would be able to play Division I, but I never knew it would be Cal until this point.”
But, less than a week ago, Rambo started to give out hints.
All that matters is the Axe.— Evan Rambo™ (@RamboEvan) November 14, 2014
“That was just a little subliminal message in there a little bit,” laughs Rambo.
The date Rambo posted that tweet, you’ll notice, was the day of Cal’s game against USC last Thursday. That’s no coincidence.
“It just felt like the right time. I was talking it over with my parents, and coach Burns visited my school when they were down playing USC,” says Rambo. “I talked with coach Burns on Thursday, we talked it over, and we were discussing the academic parts, making sure everything was in check, so after discussing it with my parents, the feeling was right. It felt like the right time to do it.”
Burns – who originally recruited Rambo as a wide receiver, before accidentally seeing his defensive back film – was a big reason for Rambo’s decision.
“As a coach, he’s really a genuine person. I can tell that he wasn’t feeding me lines. He would tell me, straight up, what was going on, what the situation is, how they see me fitting into their scheme. He was a really genuine, straight-up person, with recruiting. He didn’t try to push me with any type of commitment or any type of early answers to the offer. I really appreciated that.”
So, even when he was committed to San Diego State, he never felt pressure. He came up to visit Berkeley in mid-October, new offer in-hand, and took it all in. It was evident from the look on his face as he stared up at the Memorial Stadium stands that the wheels were turning. On Monday, those wheels stopped, and did so with quite a splash, as Rambo became the Bears’ second defensive back commit and 12th overall.
“This commitment is not just from an athletic standpoint, but first and foremost, the education of UC Berkeley is just amazing,” says Rambo. “It’s an amazing institution. It’s top-five in the world in public education, so I felt like I couldn’t pass up that opportunity. I can’t wait to go and experience that as a student, and as an athlete, I feel like there’s a place for me to make a big impact, not only on the team, but in the conference. I feel like, with the right pieces that we have there, we have the makings of a great team. I saw the opportunity, and it was the right one for me, for my family and for what I want to do at the next level.”
Rambo wants to visit Berkeley at some point over the next two home weekends, and will take his official visit on Jan. 23.
"I want to see that rivalry game," Rambo says. "The Battle For The Axe, I’ve been living with that since I was a kid. To be able to commit the week of the game, that’s huge. I really want to see if I can get up there.”