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Means to an end
Patience a virtue for JCSU's Randolph
 
Published Thursday, August 29, 2013 8:12 am
by Herbert L. White

Chris Randolph’s no longer an understudy.

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PHOTO/CURTIS WILSON
Johnson C. Smith defensive end Chris Randolph is ready to take on an expanded role after backing up all-CIAA pick Derrick Johnson for three seasons.


The Johnson C. Smith defensive end is now a starter after the graduation of Derrick Johnson, an all-CIAA pick who tallied 19 sacks over the last two seasons.

Randolph, who had 1.5 sacks during that span, spent the offseason training at an Atlanta-area sports performance facility to seize the opportunity at hand.


“I know I’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill,” said Randolph, a  6-foot-1, 260 pound senior who is physically similar to Johnson. “The year before I got here, Deuce was all-CIAA, he had about 11 sacks for the season, but the training I received this summer … helped me elevate my game a little bit. I feel as if I’m ready for the season.”


Randolph, who transferred to JCSU from Chattahoochee (Ga.) Tech in 2011, arrived as a project but gradually earned playing time.


As a sophomore, he appeared in three games and recorded six tackles. Last year, Randolph improved to nine games with 21 tackles (4.5 for loss) and earned his first sack in a Week 8 win at Fayetteville State. He was credited with a half-sack the following week in a win against St. Augustine’s.


“He’s definitely a speed rusher but he has great power with his hands and feet,” Golden Bulls coach Steve Aycock said. “He’s definitely one of those guys we can count on to do both well – play run and pass.”


Randolph will be counted on to provide a presence for JCSU, which produced 27 sacks during last year’s 6-4 campaign. Aycock praised Randolph’s offseason work for producing positive results in preseason drills.


“I think he’s doing better this year technique-wise,” Aycock said. “He’s one of those guys who can give a tackle hell week in and week out. He’s always had great get-off and been a strong young man but wasn’t always using his technique his first couple of years. This year during this camp he’s showed a lot of great technique and been solid on what he’s been taught.”


Randolph is eager to put those attributes when JCSU opens the season Sept. 7 against Livingstone. While he’s not drawing comparisons to Johnson, Randolph is excited to take on an expanded role.


“I see myself as a balanced defensive player being able to stop the pass and the run,” Randolph said. “Our coaches, the way they have the scheme drawn up for the defensive linemen have us dropping back in coverage (with) the tight end or going against a running back in one-on-one situations, so I feel as if I’m prepared for that, also.”


But defensive linemen like statistics, too, and Randolph is looking to improve on last year’s modest totals. He’ll get plenty of opportunities in new defensive coordinator James Lott’s scheme.


“I have goals this year,” he said, “like sacks. I’m looking to be in double-digits.”


If Randolph can play up to his personal expectations, perhaps he can earn postseason accolades. Aycock believes he’s capable of producing.


“I think that’s something he’s going to have to see, that he has the possibility to be an all-conference guy this year,” Aycock said. “But he has the tangibles and everything that he’s being taught he’s putting it into play.”


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