The Detroit News continues its countdown of the top 15 Blue Chip recruits for 2016 with Brandon Randle of Battle Creek Central at No. 12.
Brandon Randle made the most of his senior season at Battle Creek Central, playing multiple positions to show his versatility and athleticism.
Randle, a 6-foot-2, 217-pound linebacker, went on to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl earlier this month in San Antonio. He will play next year at Michigan State.
Randle got in on 73 tackles, including 10 for lost yardage, and eight sacks. He recovered four fumbles.
“Brandon’s biggest attribute was his versatility,” Battle Creek Central coach Lorin Granger said. “His size and athleticism allowed him to play multiple positions. He played outside linebacker, defensive end, running back, wide receiver and tight end. He had very good quickness, hip explosion and was very fast where he could run through tackles like a Big Ten player.”
Granger said his team’s game against Kalamazoo Central, a 41-0 triumph, was Randle’s “breakthrough.”
“He showed skills I haven’t seen from a rush end,” Granger said. “There was a play where the quarterback was in the shotgun. Brandon rushed the quarterback, who threw a bubble screen to the other side, and Brandon chased him down for a yard loss.”
Randle was most proud of being a leader on the Bearcats his senior year.
“I liked playing the role of a leader, having them look to me for advice on how to do things the right way because I remember when I was younger I looked up to the older guys,” Randle said.
Randle agreed that the Kalamazoo Central game was his best of 2015: “I got a few sacks, picked up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown, and I returned punts too. That was definitely my best game.”
Randle said his biggest strengths are ball pursuit and football instincts.
“I have a knack for the ball,” Randle said. “I played mostly at defensive end this year so I’ve really only played a year at linebacker, so I know I’ll continue to improve the more I play linebacker in college.”
Granger said Randle is coachable and a hard worker, and Randle was much stronger his senior year after an offseason committed to the weight room.
“I feel stronger,” Randle said. “My junior year I benched 225 six or seven times and I can do it now 17 times, maxing out at 315, compared to 280 a year ago.”
Now that Randle’s all locked up at MSU, he will try to bring Detroit King cornerback Lavert Hill with him. Hill was the U.S. Army’s National Defensive Player of the Year. Hill took a visit to USC last weekend, plans to visit MSU this weekend and then travel to Clemson Jan. 29.
“I talked to him on the flight home from San Antonio,” Randle said of Hill and the trip back from the U.S. Army game. “I’m pretty sure we’ll see him end up at Michigan State since he’s friends with Donnie (Corley) and Demetric (Vance), who are going there.
“I’m looking forward to taking my official visit this weekend. I know a lot of guys who are going up there this weekend, so I’ll get a better picture of what it will be like the next four years.
“If I see (Hill) I’ll definitely talk with him, get in his ear to come and play with us.”
DETROIT NEWS BLUE CHIP COUNTDOWN
No. 12 Brandon Randle, Battle Creek Central (Michigan State)
No. 13 Josh Jackson, Saline (Virginia Tech)
No. 14 Martell Pettaway, Detroit King (West Virginia)
No. 15 Brad Tanner, Romeo (Western Michigan)