Dogs' Rambo looks up to Ravens' Reed

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ATHENS, Ga. — Bacarri Rambo has a knack for finding the ball.

Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo is three interceptions away from holding the school's all-time record.  FILE/MORRIS NEWS SERVICE
FILE/MORRIS NEWS SERVICE
Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo is three interceptions away from holding the school's all-time record.

So does his favorite player, Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed. Teammates and coaches, when asked to compare the Georgia safety to an NFL player, have said Rambo reminds them most of Reed. And that’s without the eight-time Pro Bowler’s name mentioned in the question.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, though. Rambo said that he’s followed Reed’s career since he was a child and tries to emulate the future Hall-of-Famer every Saturday.

“I watch his highlight film a lot to see how he does things,” Rambo said. “I feel like he’s more of a ball hawk and that’s what I try to suit myself as.

If it comes down to making a big hit, he’s going to make the big hit. I try to do that, too, but now I’d rather just catch interceptions.” And he’s done that. Last year, Rambo led the Southeastern Conference with eight interceptions en route to being named an Associated Press All-American. With three more this season, he will surpass former Bulldogs star Jake Scott as Georgia’s all-time interception leader.

That’s a feat Champ Bailey, Sean Jones and Greg Blue couldn’t accomplish.

“It would mean a lot, just to have my name No. 1 on the list,” Rambo said.

“There have been so many great players (from Georgia) that will go into the NFL Hall of Fame. To have more interceptions than those guys will be a tremendous feeling. Those were some great players and I really respect those guys.”

If Rambo does go on to break the record, he will tie Ed Reed for interceptions since 2009, when Rambo’s career at Georgia began. Rambo has more defensive touchdowns (3) than Reed (2) during that span while playing in five fewer games.

This year, though, Rambo has made a name for himself with his tackling.

Despite playing in just five games, the senior has 37 tackles and is averaging almost three more per game than last year.

Rambo notes his numbers wouldn’t be as impressive without a strong supporting cast. Rambo leans on what he calls an “All-American secondary,” including Shawn Williams, Sanders Commings, Branden Smith and Damian Swann.

Thanks to that, Rambo has never been closer to a championship.

Georgia’s No. 5 ranking is the highest it’s been since he arrived in Athens and it could climb before the BCS National Championship game in Miami is set. The Bulldogs can secure a spot to play for the SEC crown next month in Atlanta with a win this weekend at Auburn.

Rambo couldn’t be hungrier to get back to the Georgia Dome.

“Of course we do,” Rambo said when asked if he thought Georgia still has a shot to get to Miami. “It’s about how you finish. We haven’t played our best ball yet, so we just need to try to get better every week. We’ve got to have everybody knowing that we can still achieve our team goals, so it’s going to come down to the leaders – the seniors – to get everyone focused.”

SATURDAY’S GAMES

• Arkansas at South Carolina, noon (CBS-Ch. 12)

• Georgia Tech at North Carolina, 12:30 p.m. (Fox-Ch. 54)

• S.C. State at North Carolina A&T, 1:30 (No TV)

• Howard at Georgia Southern, 2 (No TV)

• Maryland at Clemson, 3:30 (ESPNU)

• Georgia at Auburn, 7 (ESPN2)

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