Looks Like University Of Illinois - Keith Randolph

Jan 13, 2019

I gave Keith Randolph his Tom Cruises on Signing Day when I wrote the breakdown post. But I've never given him an LLUOI post, and everyone gets their own LLUOI post, so here's his LLUOI post.

First off, I'm a big fan of linemen who play other sports. Wrestling is the best "other" sport for a lineman in my opinion (teaches balance, low center of gravity), but basketball will do as well. I saw Randolph play basketball last year when I was watching an EJ Liddell game (snif), and he's quite athletic for a big guy. Give me defensive tackles who were wrestlers in high school and defensive ends who can dunk.

It's interesting to compare Randolph's recruitment with his soon-to-be teammate (and line-mate) Seth Coleman. The only real difference is that Coleman pulled the trigger in the summer and Randolph didn't. Here's how it went:

  • Both were significantly under-recruited by the summer, both for basketball reasons. Randolph was a basketball kid who didn't start playing football until his junior year of high school; Coleman skipped football as a junior to pursue basketball (and then played football again this past fall).
  • Both hoped for more offers but had limited lists at the end of the summer. Randolph's top three was Illinois, Purdue, and Wyoming. Coleman had Illinois, South Florida, Western Kentucky, Tulane, and Kent State. Coleman ended up committing to his one P5 offer (Illinois). Randolph decided to wait.
  • Then, in the fall, once their senior film was out there, things picked up dramatically. Coleman added offers from Nebraska, TCU, Baylor, and Utah but decided to stick with Illinois. Randolph added Michigan State, Florida State, Iowa, and Virginia but eventually picked the Illinois hat on signing day.

So when you're watching that 2021 Illini game and Randolph is starting at one defensive end spot while Coleman is starting on the other side, think back to these recruitments. Identify early, hold off better offers, profit.

Actually, that might not be the case. Randolph might be a defensive tackle. If Randolph reminds me of anyone on the current roster, it's Jamal Woods. And after starting out at strongside defensive end, Woods made the natural transition to 3-technique defensive tackle. We should go over that again.

Fastest guys go to weakside defensive end because they might need to drop into coverage a little bit. If they're outgrowing that spot, they move over to strongside defensive end. SDE is a natural transition to 3-technique DE where they still get to rush the passer a little bit but aren't charged with plugging the middle. And if they outgrow 3DT, time to go be the nose guard and plug the middle.

Randolph (and Woods) fit on that continuum right between SDE and 3DT. And with Moses Okpala also joining up in this class (he looks like more of a SDE than a 3DT), let's slide Randolph inside and look for a 2021 defensive line of Coleman-Randolph-Calvin Avery-Okpala. Wait, Woods will still be around in 2021 since he'll get a redshirt for this (injury) season. So maybe Randolph doesn't start yet in 2021. Redshirt this fall, two year understudy for Woods (while in the rotation), two years as the starter in 2022 and 2023.

Bottom line: this was a very solid pickup. Identify the guy (based on his one year of HS football film), offer early, hold on tight when Florida State and Michigan State offer him. And then get the ink on Signing Day.

Tom Cruises were already identified on the aforementioned Signing Day. So....

Keith Randolph - Three and one-half Tom Cruises


Sweetchuck13 on January 14 @ 10:45 AM CST

I'm excited about Randolph. Think he's going to be a good player and was exactly the type of recruiting battle we need to win.

IBFan on January 14 @ 05:22 PM CST

I think it was one of Robert's opinions that said something to the effect of how important it was for Lovie to win recruiting battles against other power 5 programs. That we needed better athletes/football players and a bunch of them was one of our main hinderences in becoming a better program. It seems like that is happening this year hands down!
Love the commit and his potential from what I've read. They call dbs, WRs, etc as "athletes" if they can be projected at multiple positions -off/def. How about a name for big dudes that are really athletic that may play DL/OL, maybe TE, future LB or Hback? Fridges, Reggies, Watts, something generic, Dozers?

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