Reviewing the Redshirts is an off-season series meant to resurrect discussion around the current Irish freshmen who did not play in 2013.
There were 12 this year who retained a year of eligibility and today we take a look at a versatile linebacker who is trying to overcome an injury.
LB, Doug Randolph
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
247Sports COMPOSITE RANKING:
4-star, No. 16 OLB, No. 12 VA, No. 247 USA, 0.9058 score
Need at Position: N/A
Expected Spot on the 2014 Depth Chart: N/A
I really can't throw anything out there for the above depth chart projections until we see where Randolph starts playing when he comes back from injury. He had shoulder surgery in late August and won't participate in contact during the spring so he's tough to judge until he's putting the pads back on.
His play in high school reminds me of a mix between Ben Councell and Anthony Rabasa. For high school he was a great edge rusher and has good length for someone around 6-2. His burst off the line is really Rabasa-esque.
The problem is that, like Rabasa, I don't know where Randolph is going to play. Mostly due to depth concerns (that have now been alleviated through the recruiting of Nyles Morgan) Randolph seemed like someone who would get a first look at middle linebacker. Now, I'm not so sure.
If anything Randolph's future is going to be quite interesting. He profiles pretty well to any of the linebacker spots. He could add about 25 pounds and turn into a Prince Shembo outside linebacker and utilize what seems to be his greatest asset. However, going back to the depth chart again there appears to be some opportunity at Dog linebacker.
Yes, Jaylon is there but Councell is out completely until fall camp (if not longer) with a major knee injury and there really aren't any other options behind Smith right now. This position could be a struggle for Randolph though and I'd like to see what he's like dropping into coverage and back-pedaling.
He could probably get a ton of mental reps during the spring even if he's not tackling people. That might not get him a ton of comfort with the coaching staff which could lead to being on near even footing with some freshmen come August but it's better than his other options on the inside or behind Ishaq and Okwara at Cat linebacker.
I just hope he doesn't get lost in the shuffle. It's premature to sound the alarm at this juncture but Randolph will have missed out on so much development through his first fall and spring. I seem to remember thinking he had a good shot to play as a freshman and now he could be looking at a real fight to see the field with so many bodies coming in for 2014.