(Editor’s note: glorydaysonline.com will have a full-length feature on Kenny Randall’s journey in the next digital edition of Glory Days Magazine)
By DAVE O’SULLIVAN
Staff Writer
A few years ago, Kenny Randall — former two-sport star at Mainland Regional High School — was out of football, working at Sam’s Club and was tipping the scales at nearly 400 pounds.
This weekend, his life will most likely be changing in ways he never thought possible back in 2016.
In one of the most incredible comeback stories South Jersey has ever seen, Randall is hoping he’ll hear his name called during this weekend’s NFL Draft after a stellar career at the University of Charleston; a career that almost never happened.
Randall graduated from Mainland in 2014 and then spent a year at Milford Academy, a post-graduate school in New Berlin, N.Y. An offer he had from Temple University when he was in high school fell by the wayside, but Randall was good enough to get a spot at Division II Charleston. However, he never really took his academics seriously, and failed out of college after his freshman year.
“After high school, I went to Milford Academy and played there for a semester and then Temple took away their offer. I had committed to Temple after my junior year (at Mainland), and then my freshman year at Charleston I ended up letting academics get the best of me and got dismissed from the university,” Randall said earlier this week during a workout at the Atlantic Christian School with former Kansas City Chiefs receiver Dave Klemic, a personal trainer in Atlantic County. “Two years went by and I found myself working at Sam’s Club on the Black Horse Pike. But then I got really into my fitness, lost a bunch of weight — at one point I was down about 120 pounds. I hit up my offensive line coach at Charleston and asked if I could come back, and they welcomed me back with open arms.”
Randall got a second chance at Charleston, and made the most of it. In three seasons — before opting out of an abbreviated 2020 season — Randall, a defensive lineman, racked up more than 100 tackles, including 32.5 for loss, and nine sacks. In 2019 he was second on the team with 64 tackles and he had seven of his nine career sacks. The 6-foot-1, 300-pounder runs a sub-5-second 40-yard dash, has a 34-inch vertical leap and bench presses 225 pounds nearly 30 times. He’s projected to potentially be drafted somewhere between rounds 4-7 in Saturday’s portion of the draft. If he doesn’t get drafted, he’ll still be in great position to sign with any team as a free agent.
“I’m excited,” said Randall, who also was a standout basketball player during his days at Mainland. “Talking to all these NFL coaches in Zoom meetings, I’ve been working for this since I was 6 years old and it’s everything I’ve dreamed about. I’m excited, and waiting to see where I go. If I happen to get drafted, I’ll thank God, if I happen to go preferred free agent, I wouldn’t be upset about that. All these coaches ask me if I guy I’d be going up against went to Auburn, or Clemson or wherever, and I don’t care about that. I’m a bully when I go into the trenches and I’m going to work ten times harder than whoever is in front of me.”