Rambo leaving legacy as Georgia career winds up

Rambo leaving legacy as Georgia career winds up

December 21st, 2012 by David Paschall in Sports College08football

Safety Bacarri Rambo (18) intercepts a pass during the Bulldogs' game against Georgia Tech.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Sixteen career interceptions, five missed games due to two suspensions and one All-America season.

Whether he has suited up or not for Georgia's football team, senior safety Bacarri Rambo is leaving a legacy that is anything but dull. Rambo will go through his last practice in Athens this morning and will compete for a final time with the Bulldogs on New Year's Day against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.

"I've just tried to do my job and help my team the best way I could," Rambo said this week. "People will have their differences of opinion about me, but I can't do anything about that."

Rambo signed with Georgia in 2008 as a three-star athlete prospect out of tiny Donalsonville in the Peach State's southwest corner. The 6-foot, 210-pounder redshirted his first season and has since amassed 229 tackles, 18 pass deflections, 16 interceptions and six forced fumbles.

His 16th interception occurred Nov. 24 against Georgia Tech and tied former Bulldogs safety and Super Bowl VII MVP Jake Scott for the most in program history. Rambo would love to set a new standard against the Cornhuskers in Orlando.

"That would be really cool and a dream come true," he said. "I never thought that I would be in this position for a university such as Georgia, and it's an honor considering the great players like Champ Bailiey, Thomas Davis, Greg Blue and Sean Jones who have come through here. Leading guys like that in interceptions is a real honor."

Rambo led the Southeastern Conference with eight interceptions and earned All-America honors last year. This is the only season in which he hasn't returned an interception for a touchdown, having turned the trick against Tennessee in 2009, Idaho State in '10 and Auburn a year ago.

Rambo already might have the school mark to himself had it not been for offseason mishaps. He received a one-game suspension at the start of last season reportedly for marijuana possession and a four-game suspension at the start of this year reportedly for failing a drug test.

"Going through that helped me realize who my friends were," Rambo said. "I had to look at things differently as far as how I carried myself, because I didn't want to be seen as a bad role model for kids. I wanted to be seen as a positive person, so I had to change some things, and the first thing I did was surround myself with more positive people."

Rambo was outspoken right up to the SEC championship game against Alabama earlier this month and once got into a testy Twitter exchange with former Tennessee receiver Da'Rick Rogers.

Perhaps more impressive than any tackle or interception Rambo compiled is the fact he graduated last week in consumer economics. He is projected by NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper as the No. 3 senior safety, with teammates Shawn Williams and Sanders Commings ranking No. 2 and No. 4.

Once his NFL days are over, Rambo would like to coach kids and "help them grow on and off the field."

Rambo was not the biggest catch in his recruiting class -- receiver A.J. Green, running back Richard Samuel and defensive tackle DeAngelo Tyson were the most touted of that bunch -- but the production throughout his career is undeniable. This season's suspension ended any hopes of an All-America repeat, but Rambo enters the Capital One Bowl having totaled 16 tackles the past two games and having hounded rival Georgia Tech with two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and his interception.

"I think I've just stayed hungry and accepted that I was never good enough at what I did and that I could always get better," Rambo said.

Odds and ends

Coach Mark Richt said after Thursday's practice that any academic casualties would be announced in Orlando. ... Among those missing Thursday's workout were tight end Jay Rome (hip flexor) and cornerback Devin Bowman (bruised quadriceps). ... Reserve offensive lineman Austin Long underwent surgery Thursday for a fractured right hand, which the redshirt junior sustained Wednesday, but Richt said he may play in the bowl. ... Richt on reports defensive line coach Rodney Garner is being pursued by Auburn: "I'm not discussing any personal stuff like that." ... Georgia announced the signings this week of receiver Jonathon Rumph (6-5, 215) from Holmes (Miss.) Community College and defensive lineman Chris Mayes (6-4, 330) of Gulf Coast (Miss.) Community College. Mayes originally signed with the Bulldogs in 2011.