Bacarri Rambo made his claim for the starting strong safety position at Georgia on Saturday by playing a stellar game against Arizona State. Bacarri, a redshirt freshman, is 6'0", 210 pounds, and known for his athleticism, smarts on and off the field—he's an honor roll student at Georgia—and great work ethic.
Before Rambo got his first official start on Saturday, he saw some limited action in both the South Carolina and Oklahoma State games, amassing three total tackles.
Rambo has experience on both sides of the ball, and during the time he was being recruited, there was little doubt that he had the talent and ability to be a key contributor at almost any spot on the field.
Coming out of Donalsonville, Ga., Bacarri was a pretty good quarterback. Some compared his elusiveness and explosiveness with the ball to current Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. He was that fast.
He also played some running back, and as a junior, he finished the season with 1,186 yards and 21 touchdowns. Truly a jack of all trades.
During his senior season, he ran for 692 yards and 17 touchdowns while passing for 615 yards and four scores.
Once at Georgia, the coaches often used him on the offensive scout team to mimic the play of such big-time SEC talent as Brandon LaFell, wide receiver out of LSU, and Tim Tebow, quarterback from the University of Florida.
It was a job that he took seriously, and he used the experience as a chance to better himself defensively. He took every opportunity given him by the coaching staff as a chance to continue developing and making strides so that once his number was called, he would be ready.
Now that he has a chance to shine and make a name for himself, he doesn't plan to shirk his duties. He will continue to work just as hard, if not harder, to keep his playing horizons on the up and up.
Saturday night's performance showed many in the Bulldog Nation that Rambo definitely has a future here at Georgia, and many are clamoring to see how much more this kid can truly do.
Against Arizona State, Bacarri finished the game with an interception, four tackles, and a key pass breakup late in the fourth that likely saved the game. He played very disciplined football, and he, along with the rest of the Georgia defense, held the Sun Devils to just 116 yards through the air.
One thing is for sure: He will be a welcome addition to a secondary that is currently ranked 90th in the nation for pass defense and giving up, on average, 243 passing yards per game.
Prior to this point, the job rested with senior Bryan Evans, but he has not proven to be effective at the spot, getting burned or caught looking the wrong way on many passes thrown his way.
Evans was moved from free safety to strong safety this season in order to allow Reshad Jones to play at the FS position. The transition for Jones has been a boon to his overall approach to the game, while Evans has suffered a continued decline.
The game against Arkansas last week was particularly brutal for Evans, as he looked severely overmatched and under-qualified trying to play against faster receivers. In Evans' defense, Arkansas made much of the Georgia secondary look bad, but it was clear that Evans was the worst of the bunch.
Rambo is not yet the sure-fire starter for the Dawgs, but if his play continues to be anything close to like it was on Saturday, it will be hard to keep him off the field.
As for Evans, it is uncertain what coach Willie Martinez will decide to do with him, but there is no doubt he will find a way to keep Evans involved despite his shortcomings on defense. Either way, it is clear that there will be a changing of the guard in the secondary.
It is truly about time.
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