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How Does Charleston Rambo Fit In Miami’s Offense

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Can Charleston Rambo return to his 2019 form?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 28 CFP Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Oklahoma v LSU Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The transfer portal has been very kind to the Hurricanes over the last two years, and this off-season has been no different. One of the players that Miami has brought in is redshirt junior wide receiver Charleston Rambo, who comes to Coral Gables after spending the last three seasons with the Oklahoma Sooners.

Rambo comes to Miami where the Hurricanes are in desperate need of help at wide receiver. Last season, WR was arguably the most under performing unit, not just on offense, but the entire team.

Mike Harley was far and away the most productive out of the group, though there was a large separation between him and other receivers. Dee Wiggins and Mark Pope, two receivers who were expected to finally breakout as consistent playmakers were anything but consistent. Jeremiah Payton failed to meet expectations, and we didn’t see enough of the younger receivers to really judge.

Simply put, this group needs another player, and Rambo could be that guy for the Canes offense. So, what is Miami getting in Rambo, and how will he fit into Rhett Lashlee’s offense?

Well for starters, let’s see what Rambo did during his time with the Sooners and Lincoln Riley. In 3 years, Rambo totaled 76 receptions, for 1,180 yards and 9 touchdowns. His best season came in 2019, starting opposite Ceedee Lamb, Rambo finished with 43 catches, 743 yards and 5 touchdowns. This past year in 2020, Rambo saw a decline in production, with 25 receptions, for 312 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns.

The talent is certainly there for Rambo. Heading into the 2020 season, Todd McShay had Rambo as a late first-round pick in his early 2021 NFL mock Draft. So while he didn’t take the next step at Oklahoma, maybe it’s at Miami where Rambo gets back to the 2019 version of himself at receiver.

Even after having an off year in 2020, Rambo still comes to Miami with more proven production at the college level than all UM receivers not named Mike Harley.

While at Oklahoma, Rambo was used in a variety of ways, lining up in the slot or on the outside at the Z spot. For Miami, I expect him to take a similar spot, probably over Dee Wiggins, taking over his spot from last year. Then you’ll probably have Mark Pope the other WR on the outside, and Harley in the slot.

Rambo has been effective in several ways, but one aspect of his game that will help Miami’s offense is with the deep ball. With his 4.3 speed, Rambo can shred defenses vertically, and give the Canes a downfield threat at receiver they've been searching for. Then when the ball is in the air, Rambo has shown his ability to win 1-on-1 battles with a DB and come down with the catch.

Quarterback D’Eriq King was accurate in 2020 when it came to short passes, but Rambo’s ability to stretch the defense and challenge defenders for the ball, will hopefully open up more of Lashlee’s playbook.

That’s not to say Rambo isn’t dangerous in short-passing concepts. Drag routes, quick slants and digs, Rambo is not only skilled and smooth as a route-runner, but he can turn on the jets and do damage after the catch. In his first three seasons, Rambo averaged 15.5 yards per catch. Already familiar with an up-tempo offense at Oklahoma, Rambo’s skill set should mesh nicely in Lashlee’s system.

However, one thing Rambo struggled with in 2020, much like Pope and Wiggins, is dropped passes, as he was credited with four last year. Another issue Rambo has run in to in the past is being jammed by more physical cornerbacks in press coverage, and not creating separation, which is another thing Miami WR’s struggled with last year. Those are the two biggest things wide receiver coach Rob Likens will have to work with him on.

The biggest thing for Rambo is whether or not he can get back to being the electrifying playmaker he was in 2019, and if he can do that, can he do it on a consistent basis? Rambo got off to hot starts in each of the last two seasons, but fell off in production as the year progressed. Is Miami the place where he puts it all together, and becomes the go-to receiver the Hurricanes have been looking for?