Editor’s Note: This is the second in an eight-part series about Longhorns hoping to be drafted into the NFL.
Kheeston Randall is a workhorse. Next year when he enters the NFL, his need to continue to improve and evolve with the sport will continue.
His experience at Texas will help him do that, no matter who calls his name on April 26.
“I think I will be one of the most prepared players,” Randall said. “Coming from Texas, we have so many guys that are already in the league and guys that go to the league all the time; and [head coach Mack Brown] runs the program like an NFL program from top to bottom, so you know what’s expected of you once you make it to the NFL.”
Randall has been working out in Arizona, preparing for draft day. He feels confident in himself that he has done everything he can to show teams what he is capable of.
He was one of four Texas players to be invited to the NFL Combine, and he was happy with his times and his performance. In addition, he and teammates Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho, participated in the Senior Bowl.
Even though he finished his career at Texas with 35 starts, 98 tackles (49 solo) and four sacks, he sees a need for improvement within himself.
“There’s a lot of things that I can work on,” Randall said. “The game is always evolving. Whether it’s hand placement, how I rush the passer, how I pick up on keys from the offense, there’s always things that you can do better.”
Brown has been impressed with Randall’s work throughout his four years as a Longhorn.
“You [have] probably never seen a guy improve more than Kheeston Randall,” said Brown in a press conference. “He really improved a lot for us.”
Although Randall hopes to be drafted as high as possible, he will be content with any team who chooses him. He said being drafted is just the beginning and that there is work to be done once his name is called.
His strong work ethic will continue in his career in the NFL.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Randall said. “But at the same time it will just be the beginning of a new journey. It’s like going from high school to college. Everybody is pretty much top ranked and you’ve just got to start over from the bottom. I’m just looking forward to a new start in a new city.”
Randall has been playing football since seventh grade and with the support of his mom, he has continued to improve and grow as a player. She was always there for him when he was growing up and gave him advice when he needed it.
Now, he has the opportunity to be drafted. Watching players graduate and get drafted made him realize that he had the potential to play professionally.
“My main focus wasn’t always on the NFL,” Randall said. “My focus was to be the best player I could be. When I got to college, I saw people like Lamarr Houston, Roy Miller and Brian Orakpo go to the NFL. I started to gain the confidence that this was something I could actually obtain.”
Houston, Miller, Casey Hampton and Chykie Brown are some of the many Texas alumni that have supported and advised Randall throughout his career and during the tough process of preparing for the draft.
“Lamarr [Houston], he always tells me, ‘Dude, just do you. Stay true to yourself,’” Randall said.
Although Randall will be leaving Austin to pursue his career, he said his time at Texas was the best experience of his life so far. From his teammates to the education he got, he is very pleased with his time at Texas.
His favorite memories include playing in the National Championship and beating Texas A&M for the last time his senior season.
“I will really miss the love that we get in the city from the fans and how the kids look at us when we’re walking when we go volunteer at the schools and whatnot,” Randall said. “Just the whole college experience and being in the locker room with the guys. The friendships I’ve made will always be important to me.”