Pound for pound one of the strongest high school players on the West Coast last season, Rand showcased that strength prior to camp went he did 33 reps on the bench press at 225 pounds. Not only did he have the physicality down, Rand showed he had the mental makeup, too, learning both the end and tackle position before eventually being named the backup nose tackle.
In Wisconsin’s 16-14 victory over then-No.5 LSU, Rand was one of four true freshmen to play, seeing action in the second half. The former four-star prospect didn’t register on the stat sheet, but it appears only a matter of time before Rand hits the ground running.
Asking 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.
What’s been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?
Rand: Not having your parents do everything for you, so you have to rely on yourself – making dinners, setting up appointments that you need to and getting transportation. Making friends is a new thing too, but it was a pretty smooth transition.
What’s been the hardest part adjusting to college football?
Rand: It’s the intensity. Guys on every single play are getting after it. The size, the speed, it’s college Big Ten football with big linemen. I really didn’t have that in high school, maybe one or two games I would face a guy over 300 pounds. Now every game I’m going against guys that size, so I’ll have to get used to that.
How did you prepare your body before coming to college so you would be able to step right in and start competing?
Rand: I needed to stay healthy. My flexibility is a big part because I always want to be flexible. My strength is there, but I wanted to keep up with the reps, the sprints, the bursts, stuff like that.
What do you think your strengths are right now where you can help this team and what your biggest areas of weaknesses?
Rand: My strengths is my strength. My weaknesses is probably staying true to my keys. I second guess myself sometimes.
How is Madison different than Chandler, Ariz.?
Rand: The humidity. It doesn’t get too hot but this humidity can definitely get you. I love Madison. The people are great. Just walking around, the people seem more energetic. The Madison people are nice people.
Do you have any idea what you want to study in college?
Rand: Kinesiology. I want to learn about the human body and maybe be a strength coach.
What’s your favorite place on the Madison campus?
Rand: Probably my bed or the Terrace. It’s nice to go and people watch.
What’s your least favorite place on campus?
Rand: The Regent (for summer camp) … was interesting.
What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?
Rand: I like to relax and kick my feet up, just me hanging out with friends.
Who are you living with this fall?
Rand: Tyler Biadasz. It’s pretty good. We’re both trying to gain weight and get better, so before bed we go downstairs and get a snack. We do our reads in the middle of the room. He goes off the ball and I have to do my steps, so I like him a lot.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learn about Tyler?
Rand: That we match up in the room with a three-point stance and everything. We help each other out, so it’s good.
Where does your biggest support come from?
Rand: Definitely my family on my mom’s side and on my dad’s side. I don’t know what I would do without them both. I love my family very much.
What’s your parents’ reaction to you playing college football here, being on your own for the first time and starting your journey at this school?
Rand: My mom and dad almost came to tears. They were so proud of me and how I got so far in my education, too. They were very proud of me.
From all of your scholarship offers, what made Wisconsin stand out from everyone else?
Rand: They hit all three things: I had family here, the education and football. That’s all you really need in life is family, education and football, so that’s why I came.
What’s been the best part for you putting on the Wisconsin jersey and going to work every day?
Rand: Just becoming one as a team. Yeah coming in as a freshman they might be a little hard on you, but now we’re starting to bond more and become a team. It’s really cool that you can see that when you go into the locker room. I like that bond.