Doug Randolph was supposed to be the most talented prospect Notre Dame had signed from the Woodberry Forest School during this decade, at least depending on where you get your rankings.
Instead, C.J. Prosise developed into a spring sensation and Greer Martini started as a true freshman inside linebacker, getting the first-team call twice.
Can Randolph elevate his game going into his third year? The Irish Illustrated A-to-Z series asks that question and compares Randolph’s career to some past Irish players.
Notre Dame could use the pass rush boost that Randolph can provide.
Doug Randolph develops into a poor man’s Prince Shembo off the edge, undersized for a defensive end but deceptively bullish when coming after quarterbacks. Randolph won’t start all 13 games like Shembo did as a senior, but he could snatch a couple key sacks to help the pass rush. Shembo had 17 quarterback hurries as a senior. If Randolph can produce a quarter of those as a junior, Notre Dame will be thrilled with what it’s getting from the third-year player at a need position.
Randolph repeats his sophomore year when he played in just six games and was credited with an assisted tackle. That was it for impact despite the fact Notre Dame’s front seven was decimated by injury as the season wore on. Randolph didn’t even see the field against Arizona State or LSU. With Jonathan Bonner, Ishaq Williams (eligibility pending), Andrew Trumbetti and Grant Blankenship competing for the back-up jobs, Randolph will have a difficult climb into the rotation.
Doug Randolph took a red-shirt freshman season that was wrecked by shoulder surgery. As a sophomore he barely played while being miscast at linebacker. As a junior he’ll finally get a chance to play defensive end but is a deep reserve despite Notre Dame’s lack to talent at the position. That timeline also summarizes Anthony Rabasa, who toiled on the bench for four years and didn’t return for a fifth. After his shoulder surgery and position switch Rabasa played in just three games last year, although he got a quarterback hurry of Jameis Winston at Florida State.
Considering the linebackers in Randolph’s class, it only seems like he’s been at Notre Dame forever. The one-time Stanford commit flipped to Notre Dame in September of his senior year, joining Jaylon Smith and James Onwualu, who was recruited at receiver, in the class. Scout tagged Randolph as a three-star prospect with the other three services ranking him as a four-star. Rivals was the highest on Randolph at No. 134 overall and No. 11 among outside linebackers. Scout had Randolph at No. 31 at his position, which has proven the most accurate of the rankings.
The only credited tackle in Randolph’s career, an assisted stop, came against Louisville. He played in just five other games last season: Michigan, Purdue, Navy, Northwestern and USC.
“He’ll give us something. He gives us a pass rush and some quickness that we don’t really have.” – Defensive line coach Keith Gilmore on Randolph during spring practice.