Randall Named 2014 Captain

Multiple-Position Star Named Team MVP

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Deon Randall, the Bulldogs' top scorer and playmaker this fall, has been elected the 137th captain of the Yale football team. His appointment was announced tonight at the team's 2013 banquet inside Yale Commons.

Randall caught seven passes against Harvard and finished the season with a team-high 85 catches, one shy of the school record established by former NFL star Eric Johnson '01 in 2000. His 8.5 average ranks fifth in the FCS, third among Ivy players. His eight receiving TDs were second in the league, while he accumulated 11 overall scores this fall.

"I'm honored to be the 2014 Yale Football Captain. It's time for us to rededicate ourselves to the process of achieving the team's potential. Nothing will be given to us, our success will be earned," Randall said at the podium tonight.

Yale's new leader was called on more with injuries knocking out starters at quarterback, tailback and wide receiver over the last half of the campaign.

The San Diego native did much more than catch passes and serve as a well-respected team leader. Randall also took handoffs, returned kicks and knocked down passes playing as a defensive back when needed.  The 135 touches (rush attempts, receptions, returns, pass breakups) and 1,021 all-purpose yards helped him earn 2013 team MVP honors (Ted Blair Award) and the Jim Keppel Award for the Elis' top offensive back.

As a freshman in 2010, he played receiver, running back, ran some kicks and also took snaps in the wild cat offense on the way to sharing freshman MVP honors with his Francis Parker High School classmate, offensive lineman Wes Gavin. He became an All-Ivy League pick at receiver in 2011 as a sophomore, with 48 catches and 523 yards, before sitting out the 2012 season after a surgery.

"There are a lot of deserving people in the rising senior class," said Tony Reno, the Joel E. Smilow Head Coach of Yale Football. "They [the team] could have picked a variety of guys to be captain. He [Randall] has shown through his actions on the field, his ability to lead and his selfless devotion to Yale football that he deserves to be captain."

Randall's career top 10s at Yale includes receptions (146, 3rd), receiving yards (1,391, 9th) and TD catches (11, 8th).

He made most of his impact as a receiver, but his 32-yard rushing TD with 19 seconds left against Brown was Yale's most memorable run of 2013 and the game-winner. He was called on to play defense on the Bears' last attempt to even the score as time ran out, knocking down a pass in the end zone.

Randall's best game as a Bulldog came in a win over Cornell at the Bowl this fall. He scored four consecutive touchdowns in the second half of a 38-23 game that earned him the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week and the Gold Helmet (top D1 player) by the New England Sports Writers. 

Randall helped Yale break open a halftime tie with 28 second-half points against the Big Red. Three of his scores came through the air, from eight, 23 and 44 yards. He caught a career-high 11 passes for 148 yards and ran the ball three times for 18 yards and another score (10 yards). The three TD receptions tied a school record, while the four scores were one shy of the Yale mark shared most recently by Mike McLeod against Holy Cross in 2007.

The variety of touches on the football he got in 2013 are the most by an Eli since the single-platoon era. The closest comparison to a Bulldog from the past might be 1949 captain Levi Jackson '50 or Albie Booth '32, guys who played both sides and returned kicks.

Randall, in Jonathan Edwards College, is the first Yale captain from the offense since Chandler Henley '06, who led the Blue to a share of the 2006 league title a year after sitting out what would have been his senior campaign with an injury. Randall, the first two-way player to lead the Bulldogs since Todd Scott in 1997, is the second California native in four years to be captain.

"I have big shoes to fill following Beau [Palin], and I respect and admire this class [2014] for its dedication and perseverance," said Randall, the first Yale captain to wear No. 2 and just the ninth player with a single-digit number.

Randall touched the ball in high school as often as he did this fall and was responsible for 100 touchdowns over his last two seasons in the Golden State. That led to a bevy of 2009 accolades including Coastal Conference Offensive Player of the Year and MaxPreps First-Team All-America (small schools) and All-State, while he was a four-time first-team all-conference pick.

Randall, who had scholarship offers from San Diego State, Air Force, Army, Navy, Villanova, Montana State, UC-Davis and Cal-Poly SLO, is the son of Tina and Harvey Randall.  Another member of the famil, his brother, Sakimo, was his greatest influence, and not just because he was a tight end at San Diego State.

 

Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director – steven.conn@yale.edu

 

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