Safety Situation Speculation

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Two nights ago I came across a tweet from Kendall Randolph, a recent OU DB recruit out of Florida, that really intrigued me.

The reason this tweet was so interesting to me is when I first saw Randolph’s film the word that kept coming to mind when thinking of him as a cornerback was “quality” or “good”. I saw an overall sound cornerback. When I saw him do things like plant and break, I wasn’t thinking “wow”. Instead I was thinking “this kid always gets the job done”. But when I see a true cover corner, I want to be thinking “wow”. Up until now I haven’t talked about Randolph much because I just couldn’t see that “wow” factor as a corner.  In fact I actually asked a top WR out of Florida who I know about Randolph and the way he described him reflected my exact sentiments…”he’s straight” the WR said. That same WR knows both Kendall and Juwan and when I asked him who was better he said “JUWAN” emphatically. That’s just one person’s opinion but it’s an interesting opinion given that it’s coming from an elite peer that knows both of them. But the point of this post wasn’t to compare Kendall and Juwan. Instead it was to layout the reason that tweet above gave me that “wow” when it came to Kendall.

Kendall has some size to go along with his skills. Now maybe I’m just reading into the tweet too much but I’ve got to wonder if perhaps Kendall could be used as a cover safety instead of a corner. And perhaps that’s why Oklahoma is making room for him but not cutting their ties with guys like Juwan Dowels (the coaches have told Juwan that they are going to recruit him till the end). I’m not saying Randolph is a huge kid but he’s got decent size and he’s built fairly thick. He’s probably taller than Tony Jefferson was but there are things he can do that a safety in our scheme has to be able to do.

You can see coach Mike tinkering with each position group…trying to find the right blend of qualities to give him the most flexibility. As I explained in a post last week, our SS and FS really are interchangeable. There is no such thing as an “in-the-box” safety in our scheme. You have to play deep middle, you have to play the run, you have to play robber and you have to play man coverage. Randolph looks like a kid that might be able to do all those things and that is very exciting.

And when you start to look at the safety depth it makes the idea, to me at least, more intriguing. Gabe Lynn leaves. Quentin Hayes will still be around. We’ve only got Hatari Byrd and Ahmad Thomas left. Now let me take a minute and make a note about Thomas. Thomas, in my opinion, might be an in-the-box safety. I’ll have to wait and see more of him in the spring but if he’s indeed too stiff to play safety and ends up getting spun down (again that’s just me speculating right now) then you’d only be left with Hatari Byrd. Assuming we get Parker (and we feel confident OU will) then you’re only bringing in one safety. Marcus Green may end up being a safety but I’m going to speak to Marcus’ trainer later this week so I’ll get a full update on how his cover ability has developed. Vontre McQuinnie is a LB to me all day. I’ve thought that from the first time I saw his film. Now keep in mind that Oklahoma’s nickel position continues to evolve so you need a hybrid corner/safety there as well. In other words you could make an argument that there are three spots on the field where you need elite hybrid players (something we are definitely lacking in our current backfield). My point is it wouldn’t be crazy for Oklahoma to bring in a kid like Randolph with the idea that he could play safety or nickel.

Randolp might be a quality corner. But as a safety/nickel prospect he’s more intriguing in my opinion. In fact I think he could add just the right blend of intelligence, coverage, speed and physicality to our safety position to really bolster that position group. If you add Steven Parker to that mix then you suddenly have two bigger guys (Steven is very big) that literally play corner and safety; two guys that can cover and strike in the open field.

That gives me the “wow” I was hoping for.


  • Indy_sooner

    Seeing as we are the most elite of his D1 offers, why has he not committed already? I understand that he may not even make the 17th which means it may be a toss up on whether a spot will be open by NSD. Maybe I am missing something?
    Also, we are realistically looking at a lot of dbs in this class. Is Mike looking to tweak the backfield and rotate in different backs in different scenarios. Over the season, it was clear he is not afraid of doing this on a dime- he is looking alot like the mad hatter with his disguises and I LOVED the fact that even big bad Bama couldn’t stop this

    • Super K

      Randolph has quite a few offers…at least it shows a number of offers on his profiles from the corp. websites. Coach Mike just wants to bring in the best and have tremendous competition. He also wants to make sure he has depth. As you mentioned – it was something important to have this year. We were fortunate no one went out at safety because we didnt have depth there. We really didnt have elite depth at nickel either. And we are still very limited in what we can do at certain spots. Julian, for example, may be a great cover guy but his in-the-box skills arent there yet. We’ve got a nice secondary but Coach Mike knows he can make it elite.

      • Indy_sooner

        Thanks for the explanation K! Looks like Mike is looking to shut down a key aspect of the spread offenses.
        Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about his offer sheet or “stars”. This is actually one of the more intriguing recruits we have been interested in (I actually said I preferred him to Tee in another thread) so I was curious as to what he thought of OU, because he is still committed to WKU- regardless of the Petrino move. Figured he’d be enthused about at least TAMU or us and make some visits.

  • Ballard

    What are your thoughts on Tee Shepard? Does he fit more of a hybrid role or pure cover corner? Any indication as to where OU stands?

    • Leroy Jenkins

      Looks like he enrolled at another JUCO in Cali. Bummer. Hope things work out for him out there and he can play D1 next year. Unless there’s another corner OU wants, we should be focused on Randolph, Cornelius Floyd, and Dowels now.

      • Indy_sooner

        That blows, big time. Dude was excited about being able to come to OU. Hopefully third time’s a charm.

      • Atlantasooner

        Is Jermaine Roberts from Louisiana still in play? Visiting with his teammates this weekend?

        • Super K

          I asked Courtney and he said no. He said only he and Paul are coming this weekend.

    • Jordan Esco

      What they other guys said. Just posted an update on the front page re: Shepard

    • Super K

      Tee can do anything he wants. If Tee can get himself into a program like OU…IMO he will play in the league for a long time

  • leatherneck1061

    On a somewhat unrelated note….what about Deondre Clark? Is there any effort being made to steal him away from LSU? Or is OU not all that interested?

    • Jordan Esco

      OU is definitely interested, but Clark seems to be torn btwn what he wants (LSU) and what many believe his family wants (OU).

      I believe I saw him say he wouldn’t be announcing until NSD, which, if true, means we’re still probably several weeks away from knowing anything.

      • leatherneck1061

        Guess we’ll be on pins and needles with a few of these kids for a while longer. It’s just a damn shame to see OK’s best young athletes cross over to the dark side like that when they can compete for national titles a lot closer to home.

        • Super K

          FWIW Parker and Dre are close so that could really help OU.

  • Rob Turner

    Do you know if they are recruiting Trai Mosley? Since Terry Joseph left Nebraska.

    • Super K

      I’m not sure Rob. Sorry

  • Alexander

    Heard from more than one reliable source in consecutive days that Randolph will be a Sooner

    Super K, do you think Moore or Johnson will move to safety? Know I’m alone in this for the most part, but I really believe if Johnson gets his head on straight he can be great. Really like to see him get some reps at safety. He would be great in run support as well. The two newcomers who jumped out to me on D in the small amount of the spring game I watched were Johnson & Thomas granted the DVR messed up & only got to see about 20 minutes.

    Must admit, you have me really intrigued on Dowels. Are you hearing a possible grade issue with him? Getting tired of that one. In less than a year Gardner, Huggins, Sheppard (who would of been immediate huge impact imo) at least 2 others I’m forgetting at minimum. Now Dowels?

    Haven’t seen his video yet, but you really think he’s better than Quick? Michiah is the best video I’ve seen since Striker but I don’t watch many, and only OU targets. Have noticed recently there is No State that produces that speed like Florida

    Indy, are you the same one from another site that I won’t name?
    Did you have the same pic in your sig for years? Only remember the good posters cause I have to scroll over on my phone to see the name (which is a rare occasion) and the ones with pics. Did you? Of so, for validation purposes, who was making the tackle against what team? Ha. prob hundreds who could answer that the way some be creeping