A young man’s journey to the destination at which he will play college football at can be exciting experience, and Doug Randolph’s journey was just that. One of the top linebackers in the country, the Senior at Woodbury High(VA) had interest from some of the top football programs in the country, but it was the University of Notre Dame that stood above the rest, and found Randolph choosing South Bend to call his him for the next four years.
The one-time Stanford commit talked about what made the Irish a comfortable fit for him
“I think Notre Dame is just a better fit for me. The way they have everything set up, it’s a smaller campus, and has that home type of feel to it. It’s a beautiful campus though, and if I am being honest here, Notre Dame and Stanford are the nicest places I have ever seen – anywhere. I enjoyed Stanford, but just felt a little more comfortable at Notre Dame and it felt like home. At the end of the day, I felt like I would be more comfortable there as a student and as an athlete.”
Playing football for the Irish should feel like home for the young man out of Woodbury, as two of his former teammates will be eventually be playing alongside with him, in current Irish safety C.J. Prosise and current prep teammate Greer Martini (2014 Irish verbal commit) both from Woodbury High. Randolph talked about what type of influence that had in his decision –
“You know it wasn’t really a factor actually. I mean I am very good friends with C.J. and pretty good friends with Greer, but it was never really a factor, like I was following C.J. up there. Woodbury has had several players leave to play college football and they have all gone to different places. If fact I am really the first one to repeat on scholarship. It really played no role in my decision, but it will help having C.J. there, as he has always been like a big brother to me over the past few years. He actually pushed it a little bit last year kind of jokingly, but he told me don’t let anyone tell you where you need to go, just go where you want to and where you are going to be the happiest.”
As in most cases, a young man’s decision to pick a certain school typically has many factors involved. Each recruit has their own mindset and set of reasons that influence their choice. For some it’s playing time, others it’s their relationship with the coaching staff, some need the prestige of a certain conference, while certain kids need to have family and friends close. We asked Doug what his mindset was, and what were some of the most important factors to him
“Well the absolute first for me was academics, because I know my football career is going to end one day. So I need to know personally that I have something to fall back upon, and a degree from the University of Notre Dame Business School is an awesome thing, so that was a major factor. After that it was really how comfortable I was at the school, and how comfortable my parents were with the institution.
My parents supported all my top choices, and liked certain things about each choice. When I called my Dad about wanting to change my choice from Stanford to Notre Dame, he was really excited. I mean he loved Stanford, but he also really liked Notre Dame a lot. Now my Mom loved Stanford, but bottom-line is that she was happy that I was making the decision that I wanted to make and that was good for me.
It’s also a situation where my Parents can make it to my games easier now, as they have always found a way to make it to my games. I play three sports a year, and they are at almost every game I play.”
It is easy for a young man to get caught up in the all the hype that is being thrown his way during the process of recruiting. While some young men struggle with it, others are able to stay grounded and unchanged. Doug talked about the difficulty of dealing with the added notoriety and recognition.
I look at it like this, I haven’t done anything yet. I fully understand that I am just a high school player who is trying to be successful at the highest level I can. Don’t get me wrong, all the notoriety and recognition is a really big compliment, but at the end of the day I have to still put of the pads and do what they are bringing me in there to do.
A big, physical player standing at 6’3 215 pounds, Randolph brings some versatility to field, and should be utilized in many different ways on the defensive side of the ball. We talked to Doug about what he is doing to prepare himself for his freshman year, and the type routine he is now himself involved with on a daily basis
You know life really hasn’t changed much, I just wake up and go to class, go to practice and find my way to get a lift in before I go to sleep. I will say though, I haven’t let my foot off the gas, and all of it has just been a huge motivation to work harder. I talked to coach Booker (ND TE/ST coach) and made sure it was OK that I played Lacrosse this year, and he told me as long as you’re doing something that will help get to the football quicker . So I am playing lacrosse and that should help with my agility and just lifting three times a week right now, but that’s about it.”
Randolph has a chance to be a part of a very special group of guys on defense for the Irish over the next four years. While he may not have been as highly sought after as some others, he doesn’t let that bother him. The combination of Doug Randolph, Jaylon Smith, and Mike Deeb give the Notre Dame staff a strong core on defense, and should keep the Irish defense a very formidable one for the foreseeable future.