Last spring, safety Bacarri Rambo took some friends from the University back to his family’s home in Donalsonville.
His friends quickly had a problem, though, when they couldn’t find “Goo.” The friends were left in the dark for a couple awkward minutes, trying to figure out who Rambo’s friends and family were calling “Goo”.
It was Rambo.
The nickname came when Rambo — or “Goo” — was just an infant, and it’s stuck ever since in his hometown.
“When I was an infant, my mom used to always give me cough drops, because I always used to cry. So I’d get cough drops, and I’d suck on them and my eyes, they’d say I’d look like Mr. Magoo, the cartoon character, because my eyes would get big,” Rambo said. “So I’d look like Mr. Magoo, the cartoon character, then it went from Mr. Magoo, to Magoo, then everyone started calling me ‘Goo.’”
For 18 years, he was Goo. For the last three, he’s been Bacarri.
“That’s like a hometown nickname. None of the teachers at my school called me Bacarri. Matter of fact, I’ve never ever heard my mom or my dad call me Bacarri,” Rambo said. “They probably don’t even know my first name to be honest. Everybody calls me Goo back at home.”
But when he arrived in Athens three years ago, he didn’t want to be Goo anymore because his teammates might think that was a “little kid’s name,” so he just told them his name was “Rambo.” He liked it a lot better than his previous last name, Fudge, which he changed at age seven to his dad’s last name of Rambo.
“I don’t want nobody to call me Goo or my previous last name before Rambo, it was Fudge. I don’t want anybody to call me ‘Fudge.’ I’d just rather them call me Bacarri or Rambo,” he said.
Unfortunately for Rambo, the name is gaining steam.
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and running backs coach Bryan McClendon both recruited him as Goo, so the name stuck with them. Fellow safety Nick Williams has always referred to Rambo as Goo as well, since the two have known each other since seventh grade — playing against each other in basketball — and now the name is starting to stick among other teammates as well.
But the name Rambo is more fitting for a Georgia safety, a group known for its devastating hits over the middle and physical nature.
“It’s an intimidation last name,” Rambo said. “[Opponents] will see it and be like ‘They got a guy named Rambo playing safety,’ first thing that probably comes to someone’s mind, ‘He might be a killa.’”
Rambo was a killer — to Auburn’s chances in a game late last season when he broke up a pass at the goal line with a devastating hit that left him motionless on the field and with a concussion that sidelined him for two games.
And just as a player with the name of Rambo should, he’s gotten right back to his physical nature in the secondary this season, ranking second on the team in tackles with 62.
“I had a concussion last year? I got knocked out last year? I forgot about it, man,” Rambo joked. “I really don’t think about it. I just go about my business. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. I just put it in my mind to play full speed because one thing that my dad always taught since I started out at football when I was five or six, ‘When you’re scared, that’s when you get hurt,’ so I don’t think about it because I don’t want to go timid.”
Another of his father’s life lessons came true when Rambo moved in with A.J. Green to start the second semester of his freshman year.
His father had always told him he would meet the best friend he’d ever meet in his life in college, which proved to be true when Rambo met Green. Ever since, the two have become “best friends” and then roommates, moving in together off campus.
“I think my dad was right about that, because I met A.J, and he’s like a big brother. I got an older brother, but he’s like a big brother in school with me,” Rambo said. “We have so much love for each other. It’s like we grew up together, it’s like we used to shoot marbles together or something, our relationship is very tight and I don’t think nothing can come between us.”
Green is the quiet, humble receiver. Rambo is the loud-mouthed, boisterous leader of the secondary.
“I feel like we just balance each other out,” Green said. “I’m the more calm and collected one, and he’s the talkative one, and we just balance each other out.”
“He’s like the most humble person I’ve ever met to be honest,” Rambo said. “He challenges me and makes me a better person by the way he acts and carries himself.”
Rambo was the one there for Green during his four-game suspension. Rambo knew Green wasn’t the type of person to get in trouble and knew what it felt like to sit out after sitting out for his concussion. So Rambo asked the team chaplain if they could include Green in the team’s prayers during the weekly devotional during Green’s four-game suspension.
Away from the field, the two talk about everything and on an off day they can probably be found doing their other love: Shopping for the latest shoes and clothes.
“It might sound kinda funny, but me and him like to shop together. We like to shop like females,” Rambo said. “We’ll go Atlanta, to Lenox Mall, and we’ll shop until it closes. It’s like we have the same kind of taste — he knows what I like and he knows what he likes. We both have the taste that is up-to-date, like the celebrities dress.”
“We’re big shoppers. We spend our last on clothes and shoes, man,” Green said.
When they’re not shopping, they can probably be found at home, relaxing with Rambo’s pit bull puppy named “Jeezy,” who Green claims is his “nephew.” Or playing “Call of Duty” on PlayStation 3, which Rambo got Green hooked on during his freshman year. And although there’s some dispute on who’s superior at “Call of Duty,” Rambo can’t deny that Green is the superior cook, calling Green’s fried chicken one of his favorite meals.
“It’s like he’s the best friend I’ve ever had. We just sit at the house, chill, cook every now and then. A.J. doesn’t want me to tell anybody this, but he can like really cook. He can cook some southern food, man,” Rambo said. “His fried chicken is so delicious. I eat his chicken and just go to sleep. That’s all I want to do is just relax and go to sleep.”
Green, always humble, won’t brag too much on his cooking: “I’m alright. Sometimes when I’m not tired, I’ll cook up something. But I’m nothing special.”
But even the humble Green can’t deny how good his chicken is.
“Yeah … my chicken … yeah, it’s pretty good,” Green conceded.
Just like Dad’s advice.