Kell safety Brian Randolph, who is one of the Georgia’s leaders in scholarships offers with nearly 20, has learned the recruiting process can sometimes be harsh. He will make an unofficial visit to Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
Once upon a time, Randolph was rival UGA’s No. 1 target at safety. The Bulldogs were the first to offer last year and slowly building a strong relationship with the 6-foot and 180-pounder.
To Georgia’s credit, it was always upfront and honest with Randolph: They intended to sign two safeties for the 2011 recruiting class, and made it known they would take the first two that accepted offers.
Unfortunately for Randolph, , Georgia filled its safety needs in rapid fashion — with Tucker’s Chris Sanders and Griffin’s Corey Moore committed by the end of January.
“I called (Georgia assistant) Stacey Searels, and said that ‘I heard you all had two guys at safety … and I wanted to find out if you were taking two, or three, or how many?’” said Kell coach Derek Cook, who is a UGA graduate.
“(Searels) said that they were only going to take two, and now they were full. Then, of course, he said ‘a lot of things can change. Kids can change their minds, or we could end up taking a third safety. It depends on a lot of different things between now and signing day.’
“I told (Searels) if I call Brian to my office and tell him that ‘you’re full,’ that he is going to move on. He’s not going to wait around. (Searels) said ‘Well, I understand. There is nothing I can do about it.’”
Randolph was devastated by the news. “It’s cool,” he said. “I was kind of mad at first, but now I’m OK with it. I really liked Georgia, and I was considering them very strongly. But I guess that’s how recruiting works sometimes. I can’t complain because I’m blessed to have so many opportunities.”
Cook has a theory that everything changed with Georgia’s approach after switching most of the defensive staff. Georgia’s previous assistants seemed to have a little more patience with Randolph. Georgia’s new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and secondary coach Scott Lakatos stopped by Kell to visit with Randolph.
“I thought Brian was the best sophomore safety in the state (in 2008),” Cook said. “Then his shoulder got messed up with a torn labrum and he played hurt his entire junior year. He couldn’t hit as he did as a sophomore because that shoulder joint kept sliding in and out.
“The new guys, they only saw the junior tape, and not his sophomore tape. It just wasn’t as good. I’m sure they thought one of those other safeties was just as good or better, and decided to put another offer out there.”
However, Cook said that there are no hard feelings with Georgia, and that he and his prized prospect appreciate the consideration. He knew that everything had worked out for the best during a player-coach conversation.
“That same day I was in my office explaining things to Brian, I asked him ‘If things were different, knowing then what you know now, if a scholarship opened at Georgia, would you take it?’ He said ‘No, because I’m not ready to make my college decision yet.’”
When asked the same question this week by the AJC, Randolph said, “I’m ready to move forward with other schools.”
Randolph, who has a 4.12 GPA, has his early leaders as Florida, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Mississippi State. He said he will likely commit over the summer.
Randolph has family connections at Mississippi State, as his father is a graduate of the SEC school. Many of his relatives still live in the Mississippi area. He made an unofficial visit to watch the Bulldogs last Saturday.
Georgia Tech may have inside position with Randolph. His older brother, Justin Randolph, turned down a scholarship offer from Air Force to be a walk-on at Georgia Tech last season. Justin has decided to leave the football team, but will remain enrolled at Georgia Tech.
“I like the school, it’s close to home, all my friends go there, and the coaches are great,” Randolph said.
What will be the deciding factors in his college choice? “Probably my position coach. I want to get along with them, and make sure they can make me the best player possible to help the team. Distance will also be a factor. I don’t want to go far away from home. And it will be important how I feel about the program.”
RELATED ARTICLES (Click on link below):