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Tight end Randall emerges as weapon in Spartan passing attack

October 8, 2002

By no stretch of the imagination did Deborah Randall limit her son’s options while he was growing up.

Before sophomore tight end Jason Randall started high school, he had been participating in baseball, basketball, football and soccer. Outside of sports, he was taking piano lessons.

“I wanted him to be experienced in music and sports,” she said. “I just wanted him to be well-rounded.”

His mother, who resides in Muskegon Heights, said Randall’s little league football days were memorable as she watched her child outgrow the other kids.

“He started out as a little fella, but he got so big - his weight and his height - he couldn’t play in his age group,” she said. “I remember one time he had to go up with a bigger group.”

Randall continued to excel at football, but he continued with other sports as well.

Once he reached Muskegon High, he was involved with the baseball, basketball and football teams as well as playing in the high school band. One of the extracurricular activities had to go.

It was band.

For most of his high school career, he played all three sports, but once again, the time came to eliminate a sport. This time, it was basketball, which wasn’t an easy decision either. His mother wanted him to play whatever he loved and his father wanted him to stick with baseball.

“I probably liked basketball the most,” he said. “But actually, I’m better in football than the rest of them.”

Randall’s football skills took him to MSU.

Now, his 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame is devoted entirely to football. After spending most of last season on special teams, Randall worked his way into the starting lineup during the offseason.

He and sophomore tight end Eric Knott have teamed to replace former tight end Chris Baker, who holds the career record for most receptions by a tight end.

Knott said Randall has always shown he can help the Spartans’ running game.

“He’s a good blocker that’s what I notice about Randall,” he said. “He can stretch the field also.”

Jason said he is surprised by his production and development as tight end this season.

“It’s coming along way better than I thought because I thought I was going to be a decoy-type tight end,” Randall said. “But now, they’re starting to throw the ball to me and things are starting to open up for me.”

After going without a catch the first two games, Randall has become a part of the passing attack. In the last three games, he had six catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns, including three catches for 57 yards and a touchdown in the Spartans’ 39-24 victory over Northwestern in the Big Ten opener.

His mother, however, is not surprised at all by his recent success.

“He’s just being the athlete that he is,” she said.

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