Kendall Randolph Explains Crimson Tide’s Fight Through COVID Protocol Led To Championship Ring
MADISON- The 2020 college football season, like the rest of the world, went through extensive turmoil due to the COVID-19 pandemic with games and seasons being cancelled or postponed to some degree. At Alabama, the Crimson Tide was fortunate enough to play a complete season, which included winning both the SEC and National Championships. What the program went through to achieve such greatness is only really known by those who actually experienced the months of isolation and time away from everyday life.
“We were basically in a secure bubble of sorts from day one,” said Kendall Randolph, offensive lineman/tight end for the Crimson Tide.
Randolph, the former Bob Jones All-State player who signed with Alabama in 2017, completed his redshirt junior season by assisting in winning the team’s second national title since arriving on campus as a prep All-American and touted as the No. 1 offensive tackle in Alabama. During his sophomore season in 2019, the 6-foot-4, 298-pound Randolph began seeing lots of action that has evolved into a role as both an offensive lineman and in-line tight end providing Alabama with a versatile blocker used by the squad in ways depending on the offensive formations.
In the recent National Championship Game, Randolph saw lots of playing time as Alabama defeated Ohio State 52-24 giving him his second title ring. He said of winning the championship, “This second championship ring is definitely huge for me as this was a different type of title due to everything we went through this season.”
What exactly the squad experienced was what every college football team was forced with during the COVID-19 pandemic- isolation, boredom, uncertainty.
“We were restricted on a lot of socializing and I hung out with the same friends most of the season,” said Randolph on how most of the 2020 year was handled while on campus in Tuscaloosa. “I had my classes online and tried not to be as social as I usually am.”
Through strict enforcement of team regulations and following all of the protocol within the COVID-19 pandemic, Alabama was fortunate as the team had very little situations with positive tests from COVID-19. The games within the 2020 schedule that were postponed were due to opposing teams having positive test situations. Much of Alabama’s success came from the fact the entire team took it upon themselves to follow the set guidelines and look to the season as a possible national champion contender.
“All of the obstacles we faced made for the entire season to be a highlight for me personally,” said Randolph. “COVID changed us a lot. We went to training many times on our own with very little of the normal staff involved. Honestly, the obstacles helped each of us grow as a person and we grew as a team.”
Randolph graduated with a degree in human environmental science and is currently working on his master’s degree in sports management. He is on schedule to complete that degree in December. He also looks to fact he’s returning for the fall football season with sights set on defending the National Championship.
Dealing with the pandemic has been tough on every college student, but especially athletes as they are thought to be leaders and the fact the sports they play are a flagship or sorts for the college or university. Randolph knows that fact as well as anyone and he knew the virus was around and could very easily have an effect on the outcome of each game and the entire season. His actions could mean enormous consequences for his team, the fans and the university.
“COVID is serious and should be taken seriously by everyone,” said Randolph. “Be cautious on what you do and where you do it. It was a great feeling knowing we won the National Championship and how hard we worked for that championship ring.”