Coach Speak: Thaddeus Randle

In 1997, Shawn Wynn was a defensive tackle for Tyler (Texas) John Tyler that was terrorizing opposing offenses. The Huskers were coming off their third national title in four years and were knocking at his door. Wynn decided to wait and missed on his opportunity to be a Husker. Coming full-circle, Wynn sees Thaddeus Randle realize the college dream and is set to be a Husker.

Coach Shawn Wynn knows what he is talking about when he starts talking about football. The defensive line coach at Galena Park (Texas) North Shore has nothing but the highest praise for his senior defensive tackle and Husker to be, Thaddeus Randle

"It's unbelievable," Coach Wynn said. "I have never coached a player with his type of talent. I have had him since he was a freshman and since day one I knew that he was a true ballplayer.

"He makes unbelievable plays. He has made those plays since he was a freshman. He made plays as a freshman that I have only seen guys played with make."

Coach Wynn says that there are a few things that make Randle special. Coach Wynn says that Randle's instincts for the game help him play at another speed over other players.

"We have signed division one guys, but Thaddeus is special. It's his presence and his awareness of the game. He can see things before they happen and it helps him play that much faster."

At North Shore, Randle played mostly the one technique, the "shade" or nose. Coach Wynn thinks that he could play nose or defensive tackle at the next level and it could be interesting to see considering the match ups that Randle gets at the nose.

"He plays mostly shade or one technique for us. I think that where he plays is going to be up to Nebraska. I think that he could play the shade or the three technique in college.

"Those two positions are pretty similar. You have one that is outside shoulder of the center and one that is outside shoulder of the guard. If he was playing the three there is no telling what he could do.

"At his position now, the shade, he catches so many double-teams. But, if you could move him out to the three and let him play one on one with that guard it would be crazy."

The courtship by Nebraska of Randle was maybe a week or so old when Randle decided to become a Cornhusker. The relationship between Nebraska and the North Shore coaches kicked off immediately with a first year, full-time position coach that knew what he was talking about.

"Coach Mike Ekeler was in watching film with the coaches one day and he just said ‘We have got to have this guy' when he watched Randle's film.

"For Coach Ekeler to say that, coming from LSU and being around Glenn Dorsey who was the #5 pick in the draft, I think that they knew what they were talking about.

"We got to talking with Randle and his family about what kind of a great opportunity this was. How Coach Bo Pelini was there at Nebraska after coming from LSU.

"I just told him that the Blackshirt defense at Nebraska was going to be back and that it would just be a great opportunity for him to play some big-time college football."

The fact that Bo Pelini and Mike Ekeler came from LSU is a bit of a coincidence considering that is where Shawn Wynn went to play his college ball. And when he says that Thaddeus Randle is a player, he would know, because he also played defensive tackle.

"I played at LSU from 1999-2000. I should have finished in 2002, but my knees gave out and I wasn't able to finish those last two years. I also played defensive tackle. I played high school ball at Tyler (Texas) John Tyler."

It's a unique set or circumstances to have played at a level where the players you now coach would like to get to. Coach Wynn uses his experiences to help shape the players that he gets a chance to coach at North Shore.

"When you play at the college level, you play with some of the best athletes in the world. Having done that and come from there, you know a little bit about what to look for in a player.

"Learning with players like I played with you know what it takes to be successful at that level. I try to instill that in the high school kids. I have played with and against some of the best players in the nation."

When it comes to who Coach Wynn learned from at LSU, well, there was a bit of a revolving door there and no one really left a lasting mark until Coach Pete Jenkins got there.

Coach Jenkins might have had his doubters at first, but since Coach Wynn has had his chance to start coaching he has really started to see the way that Coach Jenkins taught come out in him.

"I had three different defensive line coaches at LSU, but when Coach Pete Jenkins got there I started to ask myself ‘What is this old guy talking about?'.

"But, when I started coaching I started seeing things that Coach Jenkins said to me and showed me and also how to get my point across to my players. It was unbelievable. It's left a lasting impression on me."

Everyone knows about the coaches that have been produced under Mike Holmgren. Well, the players that Coach Jenkins has had that have gone on to coach might be able to give Coach Holmgren and his group a run for their money.

"There are guys on all three levels of football that played for Coach Jenkins that have gone on to coach. There is Carl Dunbar is the defensive line coach with the Minnesota Vikings. Bo Davis is a defensive line coach at Alabama. I have a few of my friends along with me that coach high school football."

If it wasn't for a little bit of bad or go timing, depending on how you look at it, this story might not have happened up to this point. You see, Randle isn't the only person at North Shore that Nebraska wanted to have play for them.

"In 1997, Coach Turner Gill was recruiting me from Nebraska. The only reason why I didn't go to Nebraska was because we were still in the playoffs. I couldn't take my visit then.

"That was when Nebraska was in the national title hunt every year. Coach Tom Osborne called the house and I told him I was going to wait until the season was over to take a trip.

"He told me that he couldn't promise me anything if I decided to wait because the previous weekend of recruits, everyone committed. He told me there was another group coming in and I lost my spot."

Hindsight is always 20-20, but Shawn Wynn says that he wouldn't have changed a thing. But, after Randle did commit to Nebraska he made a call to reminisce about his own story about Nebraska.

"It all worked out fine. If I had to do it all over again I wouldn't change a thing. After Thaddeus committed to Nebraska, I called my father to tell him the news and we talked about my story with Nebraska. We both started laughing thinking about that and how everything has come full-circle now."

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