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2021 NFL Draft: Introducing Kenneth Randall, the D-II prospect that hopes to blow up the Senior Bowl

Charleston Athletics

Prior to the 2019 NFL Draft, I introduced our readers to a small school pass rusher by the name of John Cominsky. Today, I’d like for you to meet Kenneth Randall, a fellow defensive linemen that played alongside Cominsky at Charleston. Randall recently declared for the 2021 draft.

A program seen by many as on the rise, Charleston are on the NFL draft map now. Cominsky was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in 2019 and remains a key player on their defensive line today. Cominsky’s pre-draft stock benefited from an excellent performance at the Senior Bowl. Randall is hoping to follow a similar path this winter.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 320 pounds, Randall has showcased the play strength and position versatility to be an asset at the next level.

As I continue to sit down with NFL draft-eligible talents all over the nation, I was very intrigued by Randall. Here, I caught up with him to discuss how Cominsky’s success created some much-welcomed attention for Charleston, which areas of his game he is best known for and how he’s preparing for the 2021 draft.

JM: You recently declared for the NFL draft. Tell us about your decision.

KR: I was out in Florida for a week training when I made my decision. I was having those conversations with my family. My girlfriend and I just had a son. We talked about our future. I thought this was the best decision I could make since Charleston isn’t having a fall season. I figured I would go ahead and start training in attempt to get ahead of the process. I’m trying to build and prepare for the next step.

JM: Its been a very unique year. Your decision to declare was almost forced by Charleston not having a fall season. What do you think the biggest challenge is that you’ll encounter between now and the draft? It’s not exactly normal to have this much time to prepare for the draft, but you find yourself in a situation that is very similar to many other NFL prospects.

KR: I think the most difficult thing will be making sure that I stay ready for the all-star circuit. I hope to get an invite to a bowl game. If I receive an invite, It’ll be my first in-game action in a little while. I just have to stay ready for the opportunity in front of me.

JM: If Charleston was having a fall season, what are some areas of your game that you were hoping to showcase this year?

KR: I’ve flashed my bull rush as a pass rusher. My run stopping ability has also been well documented. I definitely wanted to build on my pass rush arsenal. I was looking to add some more variety to how I get after the quarterback. I also wanted to show people that I can play the three-technique position. I wanted to prove that I can do some damage on the outside as well.

JM: You were recruited by Temple at one point. Matt Rhule was still their head coach at the time. How did you end up at Charleston?

KR: Coming out of high school, I needed a certain SAT score to get into Temple. Unfortunately, I fell a little short of hitting the mark required. I had went to Norfolk Academy which is in New Berlin, New York. I played there for four months. I ended up losing Temple’s scholarship along the way. Charleston was the only school to make me an offer at that point. I took that opportunity and ran with it.

JM: You made the most of that opportunity. Coach Rhule has an excellent reputation. He has the Carolina Panthers playing some pretty good football right now. What was your experience with him like?

KR: It was amazing. I visited the campus and fell in love with Temple. The facilities were excellent. Every interaction I had with coach Rhule was great. He’s a great guy in person. He always talked about how that recruiting class was going to be the future of the program. I had a great experience at Temple. He showed us a good time.

JM: Every prospect dreams of going D-I. You obviously had those aspirations as well. You have D-I talent. When you ended up going D-II, what did you do to make sure that you remained positive? I’m sure you were initially disappointed to go D-II.

KR: I have a great support system. My family has always supported me. My high school athletic director has always been a mentor of mine. I speak with him a lot and he gives me great advice. I can go to him with anything. He set me straight and made me believe that I can reach the NFL from any level. They’ll find talent anywhere. He convinced me to give it everything I have. I took that advice and ran with it. I’ve given everything I have on the field.

JM: The Director of the Senior Bowl, Jim Nagy mentioned you as a possibility for the 2021 game. What did that mean to you? That was a great look for you.

KR: I was really excited about that. I didn’t think I was gonna’ get that look. I’ve received so much attention from that. When I first saw it, I called my mom to make sure she would see it as well (laughs). I Re-tweeted it right away of course. I got so much love from that. I was really excited about it.

JM: You played with Atlanta Falcons defensive linemen John Cominsky. He helped put Charleston on the NFL map. Cominsky getting drafted was a big deal for the program. He speaks very highly of you. What was your relationship like with him?

KR: Cominsky and I go way back. I was a freshmen when I first arrived at Charleston. He was a freshmen as well. It was great for us to play our freshmen seasons next to one another. My first time meeting him, I found out he was a Colts fan. My favorite team is the Colts as well. We bonded over that (laughs). I used to do front flips all the time. I did one in front of him and he told me I was one of the most athletic players he’s ever seen (laughs). We started training together at that point. We became really close over the years. That’s a dog right there. He’s a great guy.

JM: I’m sure he gave every player Charleston hope that they could also be drafted. You’re following a similar path right now.

KR: I appreciate all of the doors that he’s opened for me. He basically put Charleston on the NFL map. I appreciate everything he’s done for our program.

JM: As you go through the NFL draft process over the next few months, scouts and analysts are gonna’ call you a “small school” guy. It’s inevitable. They’re going to mention that you played D-II. I’m sure Cominsky dealt with that as well. How will you respond to that?

KR: I bring D-I talent and energy to the table. I think I can hang with any of the top D-I guys. Give me a 1-on-1 with any top offensive linemen in the country and I believe that I can hold my own. I’m gonna’ battle and win some of those reps.

JM: How would you describe the way you play the game? What’s your favorite part of playing on the D-line?

KR: I’m a powerful nose-tech. I’m a two-shade kind of guy. I’m a very powerful player. I love the physical aspect of it. I like the fact that I can go out there and be as violent and physical as I want to be. I play with my own rules.

JM: Would you describe yourself as more of a pass rusher or run stopper at this point?

KR: I would describe myself as more of a run stopper. I definitely control my gap with relative ease. I’m a game wrecker in the middle of the defensive line.

JM: You mentioned that you have a bull rush, but would like to add some other elements to your game as a pass rusher. What would you like to add to your arsenal as a pass rusher?

KR: I’m trying to get faster off the ball. I have good hands. If I could get a little more burst off the ball and combine my hand usage with a bull rush, I think I could take my game to the next level.

JM: I love that. I’ve really appreciated your time today, Kenneth. We hope to see you at the Senior Bowl. In closing, what’s up next for Kenneth Randall?

KR: I’m just gonna’ start training and make sure that I keep my nose to the grindstone. I’m waiting to find out what the next step is with the bowl games and what not. I’m hoping to receive an invite to the combine as well. We’ll see what happens with my Pro Day. I’m just gonna’ be ready. I’m excited to continue my training.