Morehouse Magnet School English teacher Dianne Clausing would tell you exactly that about Bastrop's talented junior wide receiver Rueben Randle, one of the Rams' key playmakers.
"I was at a restaurant eating the other day when someone came up from behind and put his arms around me," she remembered.
"It was Rueben and it was wonderful to see him again," said the veteran teacher of 27 years, and Randle's English teacher during his seventh- and eighth-grade years.
Randle has already become college-eligible on his ACT score and Clausing said, "All of us at Morehouse Magnet feel that Rueben has a very bright future. We really grew to appreciate both Rueben and his parents while he was with us. He was always a very quiet, well-behaved young man.
"Sometimes athletes are a little cocky and care only about sports," Clausing said. "But Rueben wasn't that way and he always cared about academics, too."
"He wasn't our most gifted student, but he was very solid, always did his work and never gave us a problem in any way. His parents were also very supportive of Rueben, and also of his teachers. That isn't always the case, so we knew he had a very well-grounded home life, too, and that usually makes a big difference for young people."
Randle verifies that "my parents have always been involved in my school. They won't let me get too lazy. I know academics are important."
Today Randle is being touted as one of the state's premier athletes on perhaps the state's premier team.
He and his Bastrop teammates will be trying to solidify those sentiments this Saturday when taking on No. 1 seed Shaw in a rematch of last year's 4A state title contest.
The Rams won 28-14 last year but it will likely take the best Randle and his teammates have to offer to pull it off again.
"It's definitely exciting to go back," said Randle. "Some people doubted us going into this year because we lost a lot of good players. But we've responded well to come back."
Asked about his own situation, Randle said, "I've worked hard to get ready for this year because I knew I would have more responsibility. I was in the weight room a lot last summer and it has paid off."
Meanwhile, Mrs. Clausing said, "We are all very proud of Rueben. Not everybody can make it at our (magnet) school because it requires discipline and focus, but Rueben had both of those traits and I imagine that's one reason he is so successful in football," she added.
Rams coach Brad Bradshaw verifies that those same qualities do, indeed, play a role in Randle's sparkling career.
"He is a good kid and his parents have been involved all the way. He is quiet, he listens and he learns quickly," said Bradshaw.
That, the coach believes, has helped him in athletics.
"He's built himself into a good player and he will be better next year. He came to us as a quarterback (in the ninth grade) and some colleges are recruiting him for that position," added the coach, indicating that Randle may well be Bastrop's quarterback next fall.
"But Rueben prefers wide receiver and I believe that is where he will play in college."
Bradshaw also said, "Rueben isn't really interested in the spotlight. He isn't seeking it. In fact, he would prefer that his brother (Aaron) get the headlines because he is a senior.
And, Aaron Randle definitely deserves attention, too. He is currently the second leading tackler on Bastrop's talented defensive unit with 76 stops and two fumble recoveries.
Rueben Randle says his brother and the entire defense "deserves a lot of credit. They have bailed us out several times. They all really work hard."
As for younger brother Rueben, at 6-3, 190-pounds and possessing speed near 4.5 in the 40, he seems to have all the skills needed for continuing success — and his statistical numbers bear that our.
Going into the championship contest, Randle has pulled down 61 passes from all-state quarterback Randall Mackey.
He has turned those catches into 933 yards — an average of 15.3 yards per catch — while scoring 10 times.
"We use him some on screens and some short patterns, but mainly he is a deep threat. He's also a good kick returner," said Bradshaw.
In that regard, Randle has averaged 23.0 yards on nine kickoff returns — and has been even more dangerous on punt returns where he has gained 415 yards on 15 returns (27.7 yards per return) while scoring three times.
Bradshaw, who has built Bastrop's program to an amazing level over the past decade, isn't ready to label Randle his "best ever" receiver.
But the coach will say, "He's already among our best five ever and by the time next year is over he very well could prove to be the best. If he stays healthy, he has a chance."
But to find out how good Randle's chances really are for big-time success, maybe you should drop by Mrs. Clausing classroom at Morehouse Magnet School.
Randle Leads Rams To Title Game
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