Over the past month, Texas Tech coach Matt Wells has made it clear the four graduate transfers the program added during the off-season aren’t coming aboard to be mere backups.
All four, Wells has said more than once, are expected to push for key roles right away.
That’s music to the ears of Evan Rambo, a rangy linebacker type who transferred in from California. New defensive coordinator Keith Patterson has piqued the interest of Tech fans with the Spur position — what it is, how it’s used, who will play it — and Rambo will be one of the first in line to audition for the job.
“That’s an exciting position that I think fits my player type the best,” Rambo said. “I used to play safety, moved to inside linebacker and played outside linebacker last year and so that Spur position encompasses that outside linebacker/safety kind of role, being able to play down in the box while still being able to run with guys.”
Patterson’s looking for someone with a skill set that’s about 60 percent defensive back and 40 percent linebacker.
“They have to be versatile,” he said, “tough enough to set the edge of your defense, obviously enough cover skills to where they can line up over the head of a slot and disrupt the timing of receivers.
“I’m curious to see his (Rambo’s) skill set once we get into fall camp.”
Rambo’s 6-foot-4 and said he’s gone from 210 pounds to 220 since he arrived in Lubbock at the start of the summer. He sailed through school at California quickly enough to earn a degree in legal studies and still have two years of playing eligibility left.
He and Tech coaches hope he’s about ready to blossom. Rambo played in 12 games in 2015 as a backup safety before his career hit a rough patch. He suffered a season-ending knee injury after playing four games in 2016 and then missed all of 2017 rehabbing from the torn ACL.
He came back for 12 games last year, making four starts and getting credit for 16 tackles.
“I missed two seasons from knee injuries,” he said, “but I was able to play all of last year and come into camp feeling the best I’ve felt since probably my freshman year. So I’m real confident in everything I have to do right now. Confident in my body, and mentally I feel strong, being able to know the game and being able to play faster.”
Rambo said he part of the reason he chose Tech was for its MBA program. He wants to become a sports entrepreneur and has already gotten a jump on it. He and two buddies from Cal have spent the past couple of years working on a sports technology project.
“Right now,” he said, “we’re finding ways to help optimize individual performance for team-oriented success. So right at this current moment, we’re looking at finding ways to show the force and speed that offensive and defensive linemen are hitting with when they strike sleds or opponents, so we’re able to calculate that with this device we’ve created.”
Rambo hopes to be known in the future for that and for starting “as many businesses as I can.” Not just for the catchy last name that he shares with the Sylvester Stallone movie character.
Since he was in elementary school, Rambo said, people have been linking his last name to the Rambo series of action movies.
“Yeah, I’ve seen all of ’em,” he said. “Kind of mandatory. I can’t be, ‘I’ve never seen the movie.'”