Future Vol on a roll

One Tennessee football commitment is averaging 14 tackles per game this fall. That would be an impressive figure for a middle linebacker. For a safety, it's downright amazing.

That's the kind of production Kell High School of Marietta, Ga., is accustomed to getting from Brian Randolph, however. The 6-1, 190-pounder has recorded 112 tackles during his team's 8-0 start. Included was a mind-boggling performance in one September outing.

"Our second game was against a veer team, Etowah, and he had 25 tackles," Kell High head coach Derek Cook said. "We're a 4A team, and Etowah is a ranked 5A team. We put him about nine yards from the line and stacked him between the two linebackers."

Randolph clearly is a tackling machine.

"I have a nose for the ball," he said. "I like to get to the ball and make tackles."

Obviously, playing safety affords him ample opportunity to do just that.

"I like that you can be all over the field," he said. "Everything's in front of you."

Randolph isn't just a productive tackler; he's a punishing tackler.

"He's extremely physical; that would be the place to start," Cook said. "He can fill the alley in a hurry. He runs a 4.4 forty and he's super strong. He's a 300-pound bench press and power clean kid.

"Force equals mass times acceleration, and combining 4.4 speed with good size - he's 6-1 and 190 - makes him a tremendous tackler and a tremendous hitter. He sinks his hips and really explodes into people, really punishes kids when he tackles them. He's instinctive, too. He reacts and responds very well."

Randolph is such an instinctive player that his coaches basically turn him loose and trust him to find the football.

"We like to keep him in the middle of the field. We don't blitz him or stunt him a whole lot," Cook said. "We just let him go to the ball as he sees fit. He's hard-charging downhill once he sees it's a run, then blowing it up. He's not a passive, sit-back-and-wait safety. He's a read-and-react safety."

In addition to his prowess in run support, Randolph excels in pass coverage.

"He does a very good job of that," Cook said. "When the ball's in the air he's like a shark. He has four interceptions, and that leads Cobb County."

Randolph has some offensive skills, too, as he exhibited vs. North Paulding in his most recent outing.

"He returns kickoffs and punts; he's our running back and he gets some time at wide receiver," Cook said. "Last week he had 201 yards rushing, 55 receiving - including a 52-yard touchdown reception - and two rushing touchdowns."

Randolph recorded a mere eight tackles vs. North Paulding but there was a simple explanation for that.

"Our opponent threw the ball 48 times last week," Cook said.

Though enormously gifted, Randolph is a soft-spoken young man with no hint of arrogance about him.

"He's a well-coached kid," Cook said. "Kevin Clark is our secondary coach, and Coach Clark does a great job. He doesn't treat Brian like a celebrity; he treats him like a high school football player. Brian's a humble kid. He's been kept humble - not only by his coaches but his parents, too."

After also considering Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida and Mississippi State, Randolph picked Tennessee on June 15. He remains firmly committed to the Vols.

"I fell in love with the coaching staff," he said. "I felt like I fit in with them. The facilities are great - some of the best I've seen - and I like the big campus."

Randolph already paid four unofficial visits to the UT campus - making the 2009 UCLA game, two tours last summer and the 2010 Florida game. He plans to make his official visit after the current football season ends.

In addition to being a quality football player, Randolph is a quality student. He scored a 1590 on the SAT and a 23 on the ACT.

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