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Freshman Focus: Doug Randolph

Jul 21, 2013, 1:35 AM EST

Doug Randolph

Brian Kelly and his coaching staff seem to be collecting “Big Skill” athletes, a player profile that targets athletes that stand 6-foot-3 or taller, and head to college at a well put together 230-plus pounds. In Virginia’s Doug Randolph, Kelly has plucked another recruit in that mold, with the multi-sport athlete a perfect fit for the program.

Randolph begins his college career as an outside linebacker, an edge player that can provide a pass rush threat, but also with a frame that’ll add weight and stand up to the rigors of playing at the line of scrimmage. A former teammate of CJ Prosise at Woodberry Forest in Virginia, Randolph brings another impressive athlete into the fold.

RECRUITING PEDIGREE

Randolph was a Stanford commitment until September, when he backed away from his commitment to the Cardinal and pledged to the Irish just a few days later. A US Army All-American, Randolph is in Rivals’ top 150, and profiles out as a top 250 guy and a four star recruit.

Randolph’s offer list isn’t the longest, but it did include Maryland, Boston College, Virginia, and West Virginia to go along with Stanford.

EARLY PLAYING TIME OPPORTUNITIES

There seems to be a bit of a logjam at the Cat linebacker position, where Prince Shembo sits in front of Ishaq Williams and rising sophomore Romeo Okwara, who was too good to keep off the field last season as a 17-year-old. But that doesn’t mean that Randolph won’t find his way onto the field, at least on special teams.

Looking into the future to ’14, the outside linebacker position will need to replace both Shembo and Danny Spond, with guys like Ben Councell and Anthony Rabasa not yet making an impact. Whether that means Randolph works his way into that rotation, or perhaps slides inside where the depth chart is even thinner remains to be seen.

Randolph seems like one of the prospects in this class that Irish fans seem to know the least about. We’ll get a feel very early in camp whether or not he’s a guy that caught the eye of this coaching staff. If he’s got the size and athleticism to help a defense that’s very talented on the edges, that bodes very well for the future.

PROJECTING THE FUTURE

One of the things that this coaching staff likes the most about Randolph is his versatility. Whether it’s as a pass rusher or linebacker in space, Randolph’s clearly a guy that excites this staff with the multiple things he can do.

“Dual athlete, excellent lacrosse player, played basketball, can do a number of different things,” Kelly said back on Signing Day. “He’s somebody that’s long at 6’3″, very versatile, can stand up or put his hand down, he gives us that kind of flexibility at that position. Great student, great family.”

The great student, great family quote wasn’t just lip service. One thing to expect out of Randolph is a cerebral nature on the football field. Both his parents and two siblings are doctors, giving you an idea of the communal IQ level sitting around the dinner table at the Randolph household. Those kind of smarts will do Randolph well on the football field, learning the intricacies of the outside linebacker position, one of the more challenging spots in the Irish scheme.

(This is a complete hunch, but if we’re looking for athletes that might be able to play inside linebacker, Randolph wouldn’t be the worst candidate. He can run, he’s got the ability to add bulk, and if he can play with his hands, he’ll have a chance to transition if the staff feels the depth chart needs some inside linebackers.)

Whatever the position, Randolph will have to battle it out with some high profile players to find his way into the starting lineup. His first opportunity will be in ’14, where Ishaq Williams will be starting his final season and very well may have the heft to be shifted down to defensive end. Expect the versatility that Randolph brought to the lacrosse field, basketball court, and both sides of the football (he was an excellent tight end as well) to come in handy.

  1. yaketyyacc - Jul 21, 2013 at 5:57 AM

    what’s not to like with the countdown, and now Randolph. Keith, the picture you paint is rosy, no even more, exuberant. and, you have painted what you have seen. we, the viewers, not only admire the subject matter, but the special talent of the artist. thanks!

    • donttalkback - Jul 21, 2013 at 7:59 AM

      Amen yaketyyacc.

      • padomer6675 - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:25 AM

        I really like the kind of players that this staff recruits. Multi dimensional athletes that can play multiple positions. When u have so many guys like that, you’re never truly lacking in the depth dept.
        Thanks for ur contributions yaketyyacc don’ttalkback! Lol.

  2. kiopta1 - Jul 21, 2013 at 8:11 AM

    I like how we are hearing more and more of guys having to earn their playing time against other talented guys. That’s depth and it allows the team to not only play better but also practice harder. Go IRISH!

  3. gtizzo - Jul 21, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    I like your “hunch” Keith,

    I think this kid moves inside. He has the size, put some muscle on the kid and move him inside. This kid can be an athlete on the inside for ND, let Jaylon Smith be the athlete on the outside.

  4. shaunodame - Jul 21, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    I’m always partial toward the kids that have played multiple sports. I feel like that’s got to be great for building endurance, year round. Training year round is something these kids have to get used to at this level. But overall, I really think there’s nothing but good things to expect from a kid that’s both a heck of an athlete and with a ton of smarts. RKG, ND guy, all day.

  5. irishdog80 - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Since his name came up, is Romeo Okwara the next KLM? As a 6’4″, 235 pound 17 year old, he was too good to keep off the field last year. He was bigger than KLM as a freshman. Can he grow into a 285-295 pound DE or bigger? He sure looks the part and DE might be his best position if he has dreams of playing in the pros.

    • shaunodame - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:47 PM

      Okwara will fit perfectly into the Prince Shembo Cat/DE role. I think he could definately be effective as a 4-3 DE, but a 3-4 DE might be a little out of his zone.

      But then again, who knows..

  6. 1historian - Jul 22, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Today is July 22.

    9 days left in this month, 30 in the next until August 31

    Therefore it gives me great pleasure to announce

    39 and a wakeup

    • irishfootball55 - Jul 25, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      Wakeup? From what? If you can’t realize just how much talent is in the Irish football program or your just another who believes that Rees won’t get the job done than you will be in for either a nice surprise or a rude awakening. Brian Kelly and his staff continue to clean up with top recruiting classes which will make Notre Dame significant for years to come. Rees doesn’t have to be a gun slinger to win with this defense and the addition of a legitimate running game. Tommy is a senior who simply has to manage the game and limit mistakes. Even in the worse case scenario Brian Kelly leaves for the NFL after this year, which is highly doubtful but he will be heavily pursued, Bob Diaco is a ample replacement and will maintain the direction of this program. It has been awhile but ND is back and will be for the foreseeable future.

      • shaunodame - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:48 PM

        What does this have to do with 1Historian’s post AT ALL?!

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