At 6-foot-3, 195, Rambo immediately becomes the biggest Bear in the defensive backfield, and as he watched Cal this season, pondering when exactly to flip his commitment from San Diego State, he knew that he’d be needed.
“I thought it was really necessary, just from watching on TV,” says Rambo. “I’ve seen how much length played a big part in the outcomes of games, just from some of the scores. From Washington State, the USC game, even UCLA, I’ve seen how much height and length play a big part on defense, and that was something that was really necessary for the team, at this point, and it’s something I feel like I can make a contribution in. That was one part that I felt was a great opportunity for me to capitalize on, and just come in there, use my height and help the team.”
Rambo, though, is more than just a big body. He’s been Bugs Bunny, too. Last season at Los Angeles (Calif.) Verbum Dei, Rambo played quarterback, wide receiver, safety and corner.
“This year, I’ve really solidified myself as being a defensive player. Last year, I was playing quarterback and safety and corner and just all over the field,” says Rambo. “It was really more of an experimental type thing. I felt like a situational player, just an athlete who was able to produce and help the team get a win. This year, I felt like I was able to individually solidify myself as an impact player on defense, where my team needed me.”
One coach who’s seen him both during summer passing leagues and during the season told BearTerritory that he can play “immediately,” when he steps onto campus next fall.
“I’ve really been watching Cal,” says Rambo. “I felt like it was film study. Every time they come on TV, I’m trying to break down the defense, see how the offense is running, and I’ve been watching their improvement, and it’s great, from the standpoint of where they were last year to where they are moving forward, and where they are this year. I see the improvement can be even better next year. They just keep getting better and better. It’s great.”
Having played on the offensive side of the ball last season, throwing for 963 yards and eight touchdowns as a dual-threat quarterback and rushing for 569 yards and 10 more scores, Rambo has used that knowledge and understanding of the offensive game to blossom this season on the defensive side of the ball.
“I feel my knowledge of the game has gotten better,” says Rambo. “My IQ has gotten a lot higher from where it was last year, and being able to play all those different positions last year, at quarterback, at receiver, at corner and safety, it helped me on the defensive side, a lot. As a quarterback, I had to be able to read coverages, and now, I know what the quarterback’s looking at. If I’m playing safety, I can read a quarterback and see where his eyes are going, and I can make those drops and I can make those coverages and I’m able to make a lot of impact plays. Also, I feel that my physical tools – tackling – has helped me, as well. The ability to form tackle is necessary at the next level that I’m trying to play on. I feel like my physical tools, as much as my mental tools, have improved.”
Rambo’s season was cut short this year, as his team went just 3-7, out of playoff contention, but that just means all of his focus is on his freshman season for the Bears.
“It’s just the atmosphere. I just can’t wait for that atmosphere, once I’m finally able to get up there, and get to work,” says Rambo. “Being at the Division I level, I just feel like the atmosphere will be great. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to see the field, play in the Pac-12, play Division I football.”