Former Seminole County and UGA star Bacarri Rambo is headed to the nation’s capitol after the Washington Redskins picked him.
NEW YORK — Bacarri Rambo was beginning to think his name would never be called.
The former Seminole County and Georgia star was denied multiple times by every NFL team before finally getting taken in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins on Saturday.
“I thought everybody had forgotten about me,” Rambo told The Athens Banner-Herald. “I was sitting here praying, asking God to give me one team to like me. Then the Redskins called, and it’s just a blessed moment. I thank the organization for believing in me.”
Rambo was projected to go in either the third or fourth round, but he had to settle for being the 191st overall pick and the 17th safety taken.
“It was very hard because I felt like a lot of those guys weren’t near the guy I was, but everything happens for a reason,” Rambo told The Banner-Herald. “It put a big chip on my shoulder, so I’ll just have to go out there and prove it to everybody.”
Rambo was an All-American as a junior in 2011 but was suspended for the first four games of his senior year after running afoul of Georgia’s drug policy for a second time.
Rambo told the Washington Examiner that his fall to the sixth round was likely because of some poor decisions made that resulted in his suspension.
“It was a very selfish decision,” Rambo said. “But I grew from it and it helped me put my priorities in order. It helped me be a better person. I hit adversity, and I overcame it. I’m happy to be where I’m at right now.”
Rambo, a native of Donalsonville, is the 15th Georgia player ever to be selected by the Redskins.
Rambo was named to the All-SEC Second Team after a senior season where he had three interceptions to tie Jake Scott’s career record of 16. He finished his Bulldog career with 235 tackles in 47 appearances, 36 of which were starts.
He was one of four Bulldogs selected in the final day of the NFL Draft, joining cornerback Sanders Commings (fifth round, Kansas City Chiefs), receiver Tavarres King (fifth round, Denver Broncos) and defensive end Cornelius Washington (sixth round, Chicago Bears).
A total of eight Bulldogs were taken during the three-day draft. Linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree headlined the Georgia draft class as they were taken with the 17th and 30th picks of the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, respectively. Georgia’s eight players drafted in this year’s draft ties a school-record set back in 2002.
John Jenkins waited longer than expected, but midway through the third round of the NFL draft, the big nose tackle was finally snapped up by the New Orleans Saints.
And two picks later another Georgia player, safety Shawn Williams of Early County, was picked. The Cincinnati Bengals, continuing their love affair with Georgia players, picked Williams with the 84th overall pick.
Jenkins, the nose tackle, goes to the same team that interviewed but did not hire Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham in February. Jenkins was the seventh defensive tackle taken in the draft.
The Connecticut native played two years for Georgia, after beginning his career at Gulf Coast (Miss.) Community College. He started for most of two seasons, though his career ended early, as he was academically ineligible for the Capital One Bowl. His blend of size (ranging around 350 pounds) and athleticism was a big attraction to NFL scouts.
Jenkins will have a chance to earn a starting position, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. New defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who was in Athens for UGA’s pro day in March, is installing a 3-4 system, and the Saints’ current listed starter at nose tackle, Brodrick Bunkley, is only 300 pounds.
“I’m just going to come in and work,” Jenkins said, according to the Times-Picayune. “I’m not going to say anything beyond that. I’m just going to come to work. I’ve been doing that for some odd years. I’m just going to come in and try to learn from the veteran guys and coach Johnson.”
Jenkins credited another former Georgia defensive lineman with serving as inspiration for his pro career.
“It was DeAngelo Tyson who was actually one of my teammates last year when we were in the SEC Championship game and lost the game and to see him actually establish himself as a Baltimore Raven, actually play at the Super Bowl, it made me a believer that don’t give up, anything is possible,” Jenkins said. “That’s exactly what he showed me by playing in that game just a year after losing the SEC Championship and winning the Super Bowl.”
Williams was the eighth safety taken in the draft. He led Georgia in tackles in 2001 and was second in tackles this past season. Perhaps more importantly, he was one of the emotional leaders of the Georgia defense. His rant about the defense “playing soft” prior to the Florida game last year helped galvanize the defense and the entire team.
“Shawn Williams has great physical tools and has been a great leader down there on that defensive football team at the University of Georgia,” Lewis said Friday night, according to a transcript. “There are a lot of good players on that team, and he’s done an outstanding job down there. Been a quarterback for the defense on the field and is an aggressive, aggressive player. He’s got great speed, quickness, measurable, moving in and out, so, we really feel like he comes here and has an opportunity again to compete for an opportunity to play and will for sure upgrade us on special teams as well. If he’s not a starting player, he’ll play and make us better on special teams.”
Lewis also said that they liked that Williams played in an “NFL-style defense with Todd Grantham,” and that Williams was in charge of calling out signals.
“One thing I like and fits right in with our room is that he’s not afraid to stick his face in the fire,” Lewis said.
Defensive backs coach Mark Carrier, who was known in his playing days as a hard hitter, was asked why they preferred Williams over fellow Georgia safety Rambo.
“We like his size, that he’s faster, that you can see on the field where he’s the leader, the field general out there,” Carrier said. “I think personally he’s a better tackler, and if you play for Mike Zimmer and you play safety, you better be a good tackler. And this kid is a good tackler.”