Beaumont Monsignor Kelly
National Rank at DT: 36
Overall State Rank: 68
Star Rating: ***
An Inside Texas conversation with Beaumont Kelly head coach Mike Long on Kheeston Randall:
Inside Texas: What is it that made Kheeston such a highly sought-after prospect?
Mike Long: Well, his size – he's 6-4, 285 right now – and his quickness. He's such a tremendous athlete. The other day he was in the gym, he dunked a basketball flat-footed. He jumped up and dunked it. And his intensity level. He plays real hard. That's what they saw on video when they first saw him. He just dominated.
IT: How do you think he will he react to making the jump from private school high school ball to college competition?
Long: The big deal between high school and college, they all say, is the speed. Because of his athleticism – that's one of his strengths – I don't think he'll have as much trouble. We were talking with (Texas DT coach) Mike (Tolleson) the other day about it. I think he'll adjust quicker than the normal person. We're in TAPPS, but we play teams like St. Pius. Their offensive tackle was 6-6, 300 pounds. They'll sign four or five. He played against tremendous athletes. The deal with TAPPS, ‘You don't play good people.' I think that's a myth. St. Pius in our district will sign four or five and we'll sign three, we just don't have the (depth) numbers. With his quickness and athleticism he doesn't have as far to go as some of the other people.
IT: What does Kheeston need to improve on to be successful at the college level?
Long: Technique. At that level, everybody's going to be like him, especially at Texas. So then it comes down to who is the technician. In high school, he just uses more athleticism and he gets away with it, running around people and jumping over people. In college he won't be able to get away with that, he'll have to have more technique, which is what they'll teach him there.
IT: What is his upside in body frame?
Long: Eventually, I think he'll play at 300 easy. He'll be 6-4, 300 pounds. And he'll be able to handle it.
IT: Is Kheeston a big weight room guy?
Long: He hasn't, but he is strong. He's a 360 bench presser easy right now and at our school, he's played basketball, he plays every sport, so he really hasn't had time to get in the weight room, but this year he spent a lot more time in the weight room. He's got a lot of natural strength and then when he goes to college and gets in the weight room, that's going to put that extra muscle on. It'll be a solid 300 pounds.
IT: What's Kheeston doing during the off-season to come into Austin prepared to play?
Long: Agility and weights, he's already doing that. (Offensive line coach) Frank Middleton is a guy that coaches here, he played eight years in the NFL, and he's been a tremendous help to Kheeston. He has a lot of knowledge of technique that he's used his whole life. He was an offensive guard. He ended up with Miami but he was with the Raiders and Tampa Bay, where he spent most of his time. He's from Westbrook, from around here. Yesterday, they were in the weight room and he was showing (Kheeston) techniques that people have used against him and to me that's a great help because he knows all the tricks that the offensive linemen use and he's showing Kheeston how to get out of them. How they hold and how they grab… He's helping Kheeston a bunch, just coaching him. He'll work with him all spring… (Kheeston) is dedicated, he really wants to play next year.
IT: What did the Texas coaches tell you about the potential for him to play early?
Long: I don't know exactly what they told him, but I think they're looking because he's such a tremendous athlete that he can step in there and play… All the colleges are going where they roll their defensive linemen because of the spread offenses to keep them fresh. He'll be a tremendous pass rush type guy with his quickness.
IT: Do you think he's capable of playing as a freshman?
Long: Sure. Oh yeah. Right now, he's 285. The starting tackles there are probably 300, 310. That was my concern, I look at him and he looks 250, ‘He's not big enough,' but he steps on a scale and he's 285 so if he gets to 300 pounds, I know he can play. Physically, he's capable of playing next year.
IT: How would you describe Kheeston's personality?
Long: Great kid. Everybody loves him. He's not a real boastful guy, doesn't talk a lot. Always got a smile. Real courteous. After our last game, our playoff game we lost it, it was a tough one, he came in after the game and thanked all the coaches for coaching him. That's typical him. Everybody was mad and down, but he made it a point to come by all the coaches and say, ‘Thanks, coach, for all you've done.' I thought that was real good of a guy like him who knew that he was going to Texas and didn't have to say that. He's well liked. He came from Ozen and it shows a little bit about his character. He left Ozen and when he left there, the coaches over there were giving him a hard time, ‘Why do you want to go to Kelly?' Well, the reason he left, they were having trouble in the school with gangs and stuff like that. Just the pressure they put on him, and he stood up to it and said, ‘I'm not going back.' He could have went back last year, and they were telling him, ‘You gotta go back so you can get a scholarship,' and he said, ‘No, I'm staying here, and whatever happens happens.' So that shows a lot about his character. Tremendous character, not easily influenced. He's his own person.
IT: Was he a leader for you guys?
Long: He was our leader. Everybody looked up to him. Tremendous practice player, worked hard in practice, then played tremendously hard in games. Played both sides of the ball, offensive tackle and defensive lineman. Tremendous intensity, brought the intensity level up here at Kelly.
IT: Where exactly did he play for you?
Long: Offensive tackle and defensive end. He can play (on the edge) because of his athleticism. That's the upside to him.
IT: What type of growth as a player have you seen from him during his time with you?
Long: He was a lot better this year than last year. Technique, playing under control more. His junior year, he was kind of out of control. Played hard just running upfield, grabbing people and throwin' ‘em down. Played hard, but this year the big deal was he was more under control.
IT: Was there a defining moment in his career?
Long: Sulphur was our big game this year, our claim to fame, about mid-season. They're a big 5A school out of Louisiana. We crushed ‘em. Kheeston had a tremendous game. His leadership, he wasn't going to let us lose that game. His played on both sides of the ball. After that, it gave our team so much confidence.
[Kheeston entered the room.]
IT: What got you noticed by the Texas coaches?
Kheeston Randall: When I was at Ozen, I went to school with Ben Wells. They saw his film and saw me on it, and liked some of the things I was doing on there, then last February, out of the blue, they called me.
IT: They invited you a junior day?
Randall: I don't think it was a junior day. I was the only one there.
Long: Mack liked him. (Kheeston) had a shirt and tie on. Mack Brown called me that day and said, ‘Coach Long, I'm going to offer Kheeston.' He said when he walked through that door with a shirt and tie on, and he said, ‘Yes sir, no sir,' just his attitude and the class that he has, he said, ‘I was impressed just with his appearance.' And that's Kheeston. The day that Texas offered him, the next day I had LSU, Oklahoma, and somebody else call me, ‘Who is this Kheeston kid?' They really hadn't been keeping up with you, but they wanted to sign him, too. ‘If Texas is going to offer him, he's good.' … LSU came in pretty hard… When Mack came in on that Wednesday (for his in-home visit), (LSU assistant coach) Bradley (Dale Peveto) came in the next day, I said, ‘Bradley, you're too late. Mack's been here. [Laughter] You can forget about it now.'
UT Signing Day Bio: Two-time all-state and three-time Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) 3-6A all-district selection at defensive tackle ... ranked in the top 20 nationally at defensive tackle by Rivals and is a member of the Rivals top 250 national prospects ... voted the state's No. 3 defensive tackle by Dave Campbell's Texas Football ... a third-team member of Dave Campbell's Super Team ... earned Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools first-team Division I all-state honors as a senior ... also was a first-team all-district and all-Southwest selection that year ... helped Kelly to a 9-1 record and a berth in the regional finals ... posted 50 tackles, 11 sacks, nine pressures and two forced fumbles ... posted a career-high eight tackles, five TFL and two sacks against Houston St. Pius X High School ... voted second-team Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools all-state and first-team all-district as a junior ... posted 33 tackles on the season ... earned first-team all-district honors as a sophomore ... also lettered in basketball and competed in track and field (shot put) as a prepster ... Born 5/7/89 in Beaumont, Texas ... full name is Kheeston Remeil Randall ... prep honor roll student ... member of the A/B Honor Roll ... has volunteered at Some Other Place Soup Kitchen and at his church ... mentored by former All-American and NFL star Frank Middleton, who is an assistant coach at Kelly after playing at Beaumont West Brook, Arizona and in the NFL (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1997-2000; Oakland Raiders, 2001-04) ... enjoys reading and playing with his little brother.
WEEK OF FEB. 18
Up next: Dravannti Johnson