Charleston Rambo Is Only Getting Better

Photo: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Charleston Rambo was one of the biggest standouts from the first two days of Shrine Bowl practice, but you’d never be able to tell if you met him. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a football player at any level who’s able to stay as even-keeled as he’s been.

Look no further than the trajectory of Rambo’s college career. He began at Oklahoma, where he played for three seasons with the likes of Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, and Spencer Rattler. He showed some flashes of potential in those first three years, but he struggled to find consistent production and a defined role in their offense. So, after three years in Norman, Rambo moved out to Coral Gables.

“Regardless, I was going to start if I was going to leave or stay. I just felt like at the start, I wasn’t getting as involved as I needed, so I entered the portal and bet on myself,” Rambo said.

It ended up being the right decision.

The Texas native completely redefined himself when he arrived at the University of Miami. He looked more consistent completing catches, and the issue with drops he had at Oklahoma—while not completely gone—looked much improved with his new team.

The problem was the Hurricanes faced some instability at their quarterback position. Starter D’Eriq King—who had been a big part of Rambo’s decision to come to Miami—went down with a season-ending shoulder injury just three games into the season.

The sudden change at quarterback was no issue at all for the even-keeled newcomer to the Miami offense. Rambo’s 2021 yardage total came just eight yards short of tying his total output in three years at Oklahoma. He also set a career-high with seven touchdowns and set the Miami program record with 79 receptions in a single season.

Why didn’t Rambo’s production suffer given the sudden change in quarterback and his position as a newcomer? Part of it, he says, was the fact that he put in work with backup Tyler Van Dyke in the offseason before officially joining the team. But another factor in the equation is that it’s just who Rambo is.

“You could’ve put [Miami third-string QB Ryan] Rizk or [fourth-string QB Peyton] Matocha in at quarterback, and I’m going to have to get the ball, regardless of who’s throwing the ball,” he said. “Having Tyler… it led to the time for him to come up and play. He played his role, and we got better, made plays.”

It really is all about just getting his work done for Rambo. Even as he’s dazzled in Shrine Week practices in his one-on-one drills and highlight plays, he’s still incredibly humble about it.

He’s not bragging about how he’s been the best receiver in practices or how he’s been burning opposing cornerbacks. Instead, he says he’s had a “solid” couple of days. He needs to “be better, come harder.” Even when I asked about his incredible diving catch from Saturday’s practice, he said, “I could show more, I could do more, put another one together and some other stuff.”

What’s struck me about Rambo is his firm dedication to getting better. He wants to show everyone that he can be a consistent playmaker at the next level. He wasn’t satisfied with the flashy plays from his time at Oklahoma. He wasn’t satisfied with the single-season receptions record for the Hurricanes. And he sure as hell hasn’t been satisfied with two great days of practice here in Las Vegas for the Shrine Bowl.

“I could always be better at what I’m doing," Rambo said. “Catching the ball, getting up the field. My routes are clean right now, but they could be better.”

The thing is, Rambo really could continue to get better. He’s done it before—which is evident from his much improved year at Miami—and he’s obviously dead set on continuing that improvement. His draft stock has already been on the rise since he began participating in Shrine Bowl practices. With his abilities, the humility to realize he could always be better, and the dedication to improve, the sky’s the limit for Rambo.

Written By:

Jack McKessy

Staff Writer

Jack McKessy is a recent graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism who grew up in Washington, D.C. As a student, he covered Northwestern’s football, women’s soccer, women’s basketball, and baseball teams. Previously, he was in charge of social media and contributed to both written and multimedia content creation for La Vida Baseball in Chicago. He has also assisted in the production of promotional content for the Big Ten Network. Jack initially joined the TDN team as an intern during the 2020 season. Now, he writes columns—primarily analysis of the New York Giants—and helps run TDN's YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.