The defense on a football team usually epitomizes what teamwork is all about. It takes all 11 players on the field to work together as a team to stop the opposing offense for four plays and get the offense back out on the field. For Damario Ambrose, a senior out of Mobile, Ala., that is the only way he knows how to play.
“This year is going to be the first year that all of us will be on the field at the same time,” Ambrose said. “Playing next to guys like Jake Bequette and D.D. Jones is a lot of fun. Instead of subbing in and out for each other, we get to be on the field together. That’s what it’s all about. Playing alongside your teammates and not just playing for yourself.”
Ambrose, a three-year letterman on the Razorback squad, has been quite a force on the field ever since he came to Fayetteville as a freshman. He chose Arkansas over Alabama, Auburn, West Virginia, and Oklahoma. For Ambrose, his decision on which school to attend had more to do with the classroom than the football field.
“I just remember when I was driving up here for my visit, I saw the mountains and noticed how beautiful they were,” Ambrose said. “I also noticed this was one of the best business schools in the nation and I knew this was where I wanted to be.”
Life is more about football for Ambrose during the fall as he is close to achieving a degree in business education. Showing the fans in Razorback Nation what he can do on the gridiron coincides with his work ethic in the classroom.
“That’s one of the things that I’m trying to focus on right now,” Ambrose said. “I’m trying to make sure that I do well in my studies because that is more important than anything you do on the field and you can’t take that away. Something can happen on the football field, but nothing can take away your education.”
It is this organization of priorities that Ambrose has tried to bestow upon Arkansas’ younger players throughout his career.
“First thing I tell them is to get sleep,” Ambrose said. “That is one thing that freshmen do not understand. Most freshmen do not go to sleep on time and then they think college is just fun. You have to get your sleep and you have to go to class. It may sound like simple stuff, but it makes a difference.”
On the football field, Ambrose is just as equally focused. He made an impact right away in his freshman campaign, working his way up in the ranks of defensive ends to earning significant amounts of playing time. By the end of his first season, Ambrose racked up 13 tackles, including one sack.
“When I first got up here, I just wanted to go out and work hard,” Ambrose said. “I wanted to make sure that I earned my scholarship and impress the coaches. I just wanted to work hard and wherever I fell on the depth chart, then that’s where I’d be.”
Year by year, Ambrose was able to get more snaps on the field and eventually saw playing time in every single game last season, including five starts at the defensive end spot. His marquee game came against Mississippi State, when he recorded a season-high four tackles. By the looks of just three seasons alone, it may seem like Ambrose has achieved all he needs to be successful. However, he says the work is not yet finished.
“Personally, I’ve been recommitting myself to helping this team by working on my technique, getting faster and stronger” Ambrose said. “I just want to make sure that this last season is the best season.
“I think this year is going to be a great year for Arkansas. We have all these returning starters on defense and offense. I think this is going to be the cornerstone year for Arkansas. I want other teams to be worried when the Razorbacks come to town.”