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Charleston Rambo Q&A
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Sooner receiver talks football and more
Charleston Rambo has developed into one of Oklahoma's biggest weapons this season.
The speedy wide receiver redshirted his first season in 2017, and spent most of 2018 working as an understudy to standouts Marquise Brown and CeeDee Lamb. He finished that season with eight catches for 125 yards and one touchdown in five games.
But Brown departed for the NFL back in April, and so far in 2019, Rambo has stepped into that role as one of quarterback Jalen Hurts' favorite targets.
Through six games, he had 14 receptions for 383 yards with four touchdowns.
It’s the payoff following a test of patience.
Arriving as a heralded wide receiver prospect in 2017, Rambo didn't exactly burst onto the scene as the next great OU pass catcher. Instead, he worked with the scout team at practice and waited for his chance.
Lamb is his roommate and best friend. Lamb said Rambo's attitude and work ethic has carried him a long way.
"You have an extra year to better yourself -- get bigger, faster," said Lamb. "You are still in the system, you just aren't playing on Saturdays. You are doing everything that we are doing, you just simply don't play on Saturdays.
"Rambo did a great job of cherishing every moment that he did last year. I don't really know if other people take it harder than others, simply I can't really just tell, but I would assume they do."
Sooner Spectator caught up with Rambo after a recent practice to ask him about the start to his season and more.
Sooner Spectator: Has it been a dream scenario with how your sophomore season has started?
Charleston Rambo: This is a dream that I'm playing here and I'm starting and I’m making big plays -- but my dream is to do even more and be the best on the field at all times. There's more to come and I just have to prove it and just work on it at practice.
SS: You've played with three different quarterbacks. What's it been like working with Jalen Hurts this season?
Rambo: His first few days on campus, he had to stay with us. Me and CeeDee, we're roommates, and Jalen had to sleep on our couch for two days before his apartment got ready. For those two days, we just bonded and we went to go throw a little bit and we just have been building since day one.
SS: Jalen Hurts, like Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, is a Texas high school quarterback. Did they reach legendary status during their time in school?
Rambo: I didn't really watch much of Baker because he is from Austin, but K1, he was a legend in Texas. Just knowing him to come in and going to Texas A&M and then showing what he really can do at Oklahoma. You see the best players from college football come from Texas. Jalen is from Houston as well. We just have some dogs coming out of Texas.
SS: How much did redshirting in the 2017 season make you a better player?
Rambo: Looking back, I made the best out of my redshirt year. I just built on getting stronger, faster and getting my weight right and staying in tune with my position coach.
SS: You had a really good Orange Bowl -- three catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. How much did that boost your confidence and help you attack the spring and this football season?
Rambo: My mindset in that game was to show everybody that I'm ready for this. For me to go out there and score on that play (49-yard touchdown reception), I showed that I could do more. There's more to come at Oklahoma.
SS: When you and CeeDee arrived on campus together in 2017, did you guys talk about being a 1-2 punch or being the top threats on offense?
Rambo: We talked about running the campus. We were trying to be dominant from the first day that we stepped on this campus. We had a lot of visions of just us doing this, doing what we’re doing. It's becoming a reality.
SS: How much did former wide receivers like Dede Westbrook and Marquise Brown help pave the way for young wide receivers like you?
Rambo: It just shows us that playing after them, we have to make plays. We have to be playmakers. Watching them make plays, we just know that we're next up and we have to make those plays, too.
SS: What was the biggest thing that you learned from Marquise?
Rambo: Work ethic at practice, or not at practice. Or seeing his summer. His summer going into the year before he came out, he was working like crazy. I watched that and wanted to work like that.
SS: You see true freshmen like Jadon Haselwood, Theo Wease and Trejan Bridges trying to make plays in year one. What is it like to see that now that you are an older player and how much do you help them?
Rambo: I love it. The redshirt rule, it helps out too. Just seeing them get in there on their first year in college, that’s something I couldn't do because I redshirted. I love that for them.
SS: You were able to play a major part in Kyler Murray's pro day by catching passes in front of NFL scouts. What was that like for you? Will it always stand out in your college career?
Rambo: It's something that I definitely can speak on, catching and going to pro day, and it wasn't my pro day. It's an experience that I'm glad that I could do for him. I am a receiver so I had no problem catching for him. It's something that I was glad to do.
SS: If you could go back and tell your 2017 self a valuable piece of advice, what would that be?
Rambo: Play fast and focus on the nutrition side of things more. I came in light. I didn't really think much about it, but I should have stayed with Tiff (OU director of sports nutrition Tiffany Byrd) more and get with (former strength and conditioning coach Jerry Schmidt) more to get my body right. Coach Tiff had me putting on five pounds in the beginning when I came in, it was slowly getting up.
SS: What are your goals? Are they team-based or individually based?
Rambo: It's just more team goals than individual goals. At the same time, I need to do my part and keep making plays.
SS: Lincoln Riley's offense uses a variety of weapons. Is there a concern that there aren’t enough touches for playmakers in games?
Rambo: We know (Coach) Riley is a mastermind. At the same time, we all put in work during the week to get the ball on that Saturday. So just work hard in practice because we know it's gonna come on the weekend.
SS: So you really don't mind not getting targets in games?
Rambo: It's just pushing us each to go even harder. Seeing CeeDee get a ball, I'll be like, 'OK, I’ve got to get me a good one.' And just knowing when we touch the ball to try and score because we don't know how many opportunities we're going to get.
SS: The media guide says you are a communications major, but you changed that?
Rambo: I changed my major to criminology. It's just something different. I wasn't really interested in taking courses in communications. I had to get that changed. I really enjoy doing criminology and sociology things right now.
(Editor's Note: This article appears in the October 2019 issue of Sooner Spectator. For more information, call 405-364-4515)