What's In A Name?

What's In A Name?

Friday, August 4, 2006

By Casey Brown

Seeing the image of the golden horns that don each side of the Rams’ helmets slamming into the sternum of the opposition accurately represents the motion a prairie-dwelling ram performs against its grassland foes. 

To the Native Americans, the ram was a symbol of strength and determination. In the wild, the animal uses its keratin-rich horns to drive, batter, and crush its opponent with forceful impact.

The ram is a most-appropriate mascot for a football team. It’s probably the most appropriate mascot in the NFL; especially when it comes to the battles at the line of scrimmage, in the trenches, where players butt heads continually.

While the Rams’ name has been popular in the NFL, it also has been popular on the prep front.  Three Rams NFL players were on high school teams named the Rams. Another, running back Marshall Faulk, played for the Carver High Rams in New Orleans.

The NFL Rams came by their nickname because the original owners in Cleveland favored the Fordham University Rams.  This was 1937, when Fordham had the fabled “Seven Blocks of Granite” linemen and were one of the country’s strongest teams.  The original Cleveland Rams also wore the red and black of Fordham U.

Some Rams players come from high schools whose mascots have similar, unique origins or meanings:

Wide receiver Marques Hagans was a Crabber at Hampton High School in Hampton, Virginia.

“I know don’t know where it came from but the whole mentality is that you can’t crush a crab,” Hagans said. “The shell of a crab is pretty tough. People try to step on crabs and smash the shell. There was a tough mentality [at Hampton] that you can’t crush a crab; that was our fight song. We’re naturally tough.”

Defensive tackle La’Roi Glover was a Pointer at Point Loma High School in San Diego, California.

“A Pointer is a dog,” Glover said. “It’s a hunting dog. The hunter tells the dog where the rabbit is and the dog points, literally points to it.”

Point Loma High also is located on a so-named peninsula that points into the Pacific Ocean.

Safety O.J. Atogwe was a Green Griffin at W.F. Herman High School in Windsor, Ontario.

“I’m going to have to call my high school coach and ask him about that,” Atogwe said, in answer to a question. “I know it’s a mythical creature; half eagle, half lion almost. I guess just because we were very fierce and because we won so many games, so many championships that it was kind of unreal. We used to call ourselves the Green Machine.”

Offensive tackle Orlando Pace was a Blue Streak at Sandusky High School in Ohio.

“It’s a blue streak. Where it came from, I have no idea,” Pace said. “I don’t know if lightning came down and hit somebody one day or what. We had blue streaks on our helmets and the actual mascot was a bear with blue streaks on it.”

Wide receiver Clinton Solomon was a Highlander at Eastern Hills High School in Forth Worth, Texas.

“It was a muscle man in a skirt that was supposed to be tough. I think it was Scottish or something,” Solomon said. “We didn’t have a mascot on the sideline, it was just a picture.”

Guard Tony Palmer was a Bomber at Midwest City High School in Oklahoma.

“It was from World War II when a B-52 bomber landed on our football field,” Palmer said. “Our school was right next to Tinker Air Force Base and that’s where we got the name Bombers from.”

Wide receiver Shaun McDonald was a Matador at Shadow Mountain High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, near Phoenix.

“We had a matador dress up and it would go to the football games and into the crowd,” McDonald said. “Little kids would be scared of it because it did look a little weird. It would run around and do flips and stuff. The matador was actually a girl. She would help the cheerleaders. It had a mask and a whole suit, it was kind of weird.”

No worries, Shaun. At least you didn’t play at Blooming Prarie High School in Minnesota where supporters yell, ‘Go, Awesome Blossoms!’ Or at Cairo High School in Georgia where patrons chant, ‘Let’s go, Syrupmakers, Let’s go!’

A list of the high schools each member of the Rams played for and mascots:


HS Name and Mascot

Victor Adeyanju

Currie High (Chicago) Condors     

Jon Alston

Loyola College Prep (Shreveport, La.) Flyers

Dwight Anderson

Bloomfield High (Conn.) Warhawks

Oshiomogho Atogwe

W.F. Herman (Windsor) Green Griffins

Antoine Bagwell

East Lansing (Mich.) High Trojans

Alex Barron

Wilkinson High (S.C.) Bruins

Ron Bartell

Renaissance High (Detroit) Phoenix

Jamal Brooks

Grenada Hills (Calif.) Highlanders

Fakhir Brown

Mansfield High (La.) Wolverines

Isaac Bruce

Dillard High (Fla.) Panthers

Marc Bulger

Central Catholic High (Pittsburgh) Vikings

Jerametrius Butler

Carter High (Dallas) Cowboys

Dominique Byrd

The Breck School (Minneapolis, Minn.) Mustangs

Jeremy Calahan

West Montgomery High (N.C.) Warriors

Jeremy Carter

Leesville Road High (N.C.) Pride

Jerome Carter

Columbia High (Fla.) Tigers

Corey Chavous

Silver Bluff High (S.C.) Bulldogs

Brandon Chillar

Carlsbad High (Calif.) Lancers

Dexter Coakley

Wando High (S.C.) Warriors

Jerome Collins

Wheaton-Warrenville South (Ill.) Tigers

Kevin Curtis

Bingham High (Utah) Miners

Deandre Eiland

Tupelo High (Miss.) Golden Wave

Tony Fisher

Euclid High (Ohio) Panthers

Travis Fisher

Godby High (Tallahassee, Fla.) Cougars

Jason Fisk

Davis High (Calif.) Blue Devils

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Highland High (Ariz.) Hawks

Gus Frerotte  

Ford City (Pa.) Sabers

La’Roi Glover

Point Loma High (San Diego, Calif.) Pointers

Mike Goolsby

Joliet Catholic Academy (Ill.) Hilltoppers

Brandon Green

Industrial High (Tex.) Cobras

DeJuan Groce

St. Edward High (Lakewood, Ohio) Eagles

Andy Groom

Bishop Hartley High (Columbus, Ohio) Hawks

Marques Hagans

Hampton High (Va.) Crabbers

Remy Hamilton

Spanish River High (Fla.) Sharks

Anthony Hargrove

Port Charlotte High (Fla.) Pirates

Madison Hedgecock

Ledford High (N.C.) Panthers

Tye Hill

Woodland High (S.C.) Wolverines

Jason Hilliard

Jeffersonville High (Ind.) Red Devils

Alex Holmes

Harvard-Westlake High (Hollywood, Calif.) Wolverines

Torry Holt

Eastern Guilford High (N.C.) Wildcats

Brian Howard

Kent-Meridian High (Wash.) Royals

Richie Incognito

Mountain Ridge High (Ariz.) Mountain Lions

Steven Jackson

Eldorado High (Las Vegas) Sun Devils

Jimmy Kennedy

Theodore Roosevelt High (Yonkers, N.Y.) Indians

Joe Klopfenstein

Grandview High (Colo.) Wolves

Leonard Little

Asheville High (N.C.) Cougars

Dane Looker

Puyallup High (Wash.) Vikings

Chris Massey

East Bank High (W.Va.) Pioneers

Andy McCollum

Revere High (Ohio) Minutemen

Shaun McDonald

Shadow Mountain High (Scottsdale, Ariz.) Matadors

Tim McGarigle 

St. Patrick High (Chicago) Shamrocks

Brandon Middleton 

Alief Elsik High (Houston) Rams

Ben Noll

Priory High (St. Louis) Rebels

Orlando Pace

Sandusky High (Ohio) Blue Streaks

Tony Palmer

Midwest City High (Okla.) Bombers

Brad Pyatt

Arvada West High (Colo.) Wildcats

Dave Ragone

St. Ignatius High (Cleveland) Wildcats

Donovan Raiola

Kamehameha High (Honolulu) Warriors

Matthew Rice

Eleanor Roosevelt High (Md.) Raiders

Fred Russell

Romulus High (Mich.) Eagles

Blaine Saipaia

Channel Islands High (Calif.) Raiders

Tim Sandidge

Amherst High (Va.) Lancers

Mark Setterstrom

Northfield High (Minn.) Raiders

Paul Smith

Andress High (Tex.) Eagles

Raonall Smith

Peninsula High (Wash.) Seahawks

Clinton Solomon

Eastern Hills High (Fort Worth, Tex.) Highlanders

Todd Steussie

Agoura High (Calif.) Chargers

Drew Strojny

King Philip Regional (Mass.) Warriors

Taylor Stubblefield

Davis High (Wash.) Pirates

Claude Terrell

LaMarque High (Tex.) Cougars

Dominique Thompson

Riverside High (N.C.) Pirates

Adam Timmerman 

Washington High (Iowa) Demons

Kevin Timothee

Plantation High (Fla.) Colonels

Pisa Tinoisamoa

Vista High (Calif.) Panthers

Rod Trafford

Delbarton High (N.J.) Green Waves

Matt Turk 

Greenfield High (Wis.) Hawks

Larry Turner

Wayne High (Ohio) Warriors

Drew Wahlroos

Poway High (Calif.) Titans

Aaron Walker

Astronaut High (Titusville, Fla.) War Eagles

John David Washington

Campbell Hall High (Los Angeles) Vikings

Jeff Wilkins

Austintown Fitch High (Ohio) Falcons

Moe Williams

Spencer High (Ga.) Green Waves

Will Witherspoon

Rutherford High (Fla.) Rams

Claude Wroten

Bastrop High (La.) Rams

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