Going all the way back to his junior season at Kell High School, most folks have had Brian Randolph penciled in as a Georgia Tech commitment.
Those folks were wrong.
The star safety — whose brother Justin Randolph attends Tech and played for the Yellow Jackets as a walk-on last season — committed to Tennessee this week.
“I went up there two weeks ago and I really liked coaching staff and the facilities and everything they’ve got going on there,” Randolph said Wednesday. “It seems like a place where they take good care of their players. I came back feeling like that’s where I wanted to go. So yesterday I just called from my coach’s office.”
Randolph becomes the Vols’ fifth commitment for the Class of 2011 and third from the state of Georgia. Woodstock linebacker Christian Harris (6-2, 230) and Athens-Clarke Central offensive lineman Alan Posey (6-6, 310) pledged Tennessee earlier this year.
Randolph said one of the toughest parts of the entire recruiting process was calling Georgia Tech coaches to tell them he had committed to Tennessee.
“It was kind of awkward, but not too bad,” he said. “They understood. They said they kind of had a feeling.”
Randolph (6-0, 180), who also plays running back at Kell — he rushed for 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns — said the Vols told him he could play either strong safety or free safety but that he would definitely be playing on defense. He had 125 tackles and three interceptiosn as a junior.
Randolph said the tipping point for him was getting to know the Vols’ coaching staff. In particular he took a liking to his position coach Terry Joseph and UT recruiting coordinator Lance Thompson. And he said he got to spend a long time with head coach Derek Dooley on his unofficial visit the weekend before last.
“They just seem like they really care about their players up there,” Randolph said.
Randolph had plenty of other choices. He had at least a dozen scholarship offers, including Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Oklahoma State and Stanford, among others.
More than anything Randolph
“It’s a relief,” he said. “Now I can focus on my last year in high school. I don’t have to worry about people trying to sway me all the time.”