OU football: Charleston Rambo says 'it's time' to be the Sooners' No. 1 receiver
NORMAN — After his five-catch, 116-yard, two-touchdown performance against UCLA last September, Charleston Rambo said that was just the beginning.
“It’s just natural right now,” the OU receiver said then. “I’ve got more in the tank. More to come.”
Rambo said that more included 200-yard games and more consistency throughout the season.
That never quite materialized. Two weeks later, he had 122 receiving yards against Texas Tech but never topped 100 yards in a game after that. He scored just one touchdown after his scores against the Bruins gave him four for the year.
With CeeDee Lamb, though, last year’s Sooners had a clear top option.
Now that Lamb’s moved on to the NFL after being a first-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in the spring, Rambo says he’s ready to be the guy.
“Just knowing now that every ball, or any ball, can come to you,” Rambo said of the difference in his role from last year. “Regardless, I run every route to get open.”
Along with their fantastic run of quarterback play since Lincoln Riley’s arrival, the Sooners have also gone through a strong stretch at receivers.
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They’ve always had a clear No. 1 during those season — from Sterling Shepard to Dede Westbrook to Marquise Brown and on to Lamb.
Rambo wants to be next.
“That’s motivation,” Rambo said. “Just knowing what they did and me being the next guy up, I can see that, ‘OK, it’s time.’”
Rambo is the only returning receiver the Sooners have who had more than than 16 catches last season — minus Jadon Haselwood, who had 19 and who isn’t likely to be available until at least late in the season after suffering an injury in the spring.
Rambo watched over the past two seasons as Lamb, who was his roommate, elevated from a solid role player to one of the best receivers in college football. He’s talked to Lamb and others, like Westbrook, about making that leap.
Aside from route-running and pass-catching, two of the skills that elevated Lamb to not only No. 1 status last year but to a place where he could be placed among the top receivers in Sooners history was his ability to make defenders miss after the catch and to block when the ball wasn’t thrown his way.
Both are things, Rambo said, he’s worked on with his game.
“I feel more confident getting the ball, tucking it and getting up field,” Rambo said. “Now I can see the defense.”
Sooners outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons said he wants Rambo to have the mindset that he’s next in the line of progression, even if there doesn’t wind up being a clear No. 1 receiver in the group.
“Everybody in that room should strive for wanting to have success and wanting to be a guy that the ball comes to on every play,” Simmons said. “And if you’re not that guy, I haven’t done a very good job of evaluating you and bringing you into the fold of the room.
“All of them cheer for each other and want to see everybody be successful, but by the same token, all of them want to be that guy that is achieving that success.”