Kell's Brian Randolph a two-way threat

In high school football, Brian Randolph is what’s known as a 48-minute man.

A safety and running back from Kell in Marietta, Randolph almost never leaves the field, and he’s been one of the best two-way players in Georgia for three years.

“I think I’m best at defense,” Randolph said. “I get to be in every play. But offense is pretty fun, and I like scoring touchdowns and making the big play.”

In his team’s first home game of the season Friday, Randolph scored two touchdowns and made 12 tackles in a 17-10 victory over Woodstock, the No. 10 team in Class AAAAA.

Those numbers are not unusual for him, perhaps even a little under par for a player who has committed to Tennessee and made first-team all-state as a junior last year. He rushed for 52 yards on eight carries and scored his touchdowns on receptions, one on the final play of the first half.

What’s special now is Randolph’s team, Kell, which is ranked No. 6 in AAAA, its highest spot since Jonathan Dwyer (an ACC player of the year at Georgia Tech) was the star player in 2005.

Now it’s Randolph, who followed Dwyer as the school’s second Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super 11 player this year.

The two are friends. Dwyer visited him in his home after shoulder surgery last year, and he came to last week’s Kell game against Etowah, when Randolph made an eye-popping 25 tackles.

Kell coach Derek Cook was jokingly asked Friday if there was some skeptics of those 25 tackles who suspected he is confusing legitimate stops with pile jumping.

“I’d love to send them the film,” Cook said. “They can count for themselves. We design our defense to funnel everything to him because he’s such a good tackler. We feel he’s not going to miss.”

Cook said Randolph, who Cook said has a 4.1 GPA, and Dwyer are two of a kind in talent and personality.

“Both of them just quiet kids, very humble, with high level of work ethic,” Cook said. “There’s no arrogance, no air about them. They are who they are.”

But Dwyer didn’t play on defense, although Cook says he would’ve been a great linebacker. Neither did perhaps the next-best player he has coached, Kenny McKinley, the former South Cobb quarterback who became an All-SEC receiver at South Carolina.

This year, Randolph’s offensive statistics are down — which Cook believes is a good thing. Two-way players like Randolph — who had more than 1,300 yards rushing and 125 tackles last year — are a sign of a special talent, but also sometimes a lack of depth.

“We’d love to have all our guys play on one side,” Cook said. “Imagine how much more fresh we’d be.’’

This year, Kell seems to have it. Randolph hasn’t come close to 100 yards rushing in Kell’s 3-0 start.

On Friday, Randolph touched the ball only 11 times, but in addition to his scores, he had a 31-yard run deep into Woodstock territory that virtually sealed the win.

Kell’s Chris Gaines, Jamari Moore, A.J. Redwine, all underclassmen, are threats in the backfield.

“To have Brian Randolph have that few yards and we’re 3-0 is stunning,” Cook said. “People are game-planning to take away Randolph, and in some ways, that’s their downfall.”