Wide receiver Deon Randall ’15 led the football team last season with 788 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns. He finished one shy of a school record with 85 catches on the year. He was named captain of the football team after last season, and the News sat down with him recently to get his take on the upcoming season and his final year at Yale.
Q. Yale was picked to finish fifth in the preseason media poll after a fourth place finish last season. What are your thoughts on the team’s outlook for this season? As a team, do you have any idea how good you think you guys can be or where you see yourselves as a team?
A. The team isn’t concerned with preseason polls. We are committed to our process that we hope will lead to a great outcome. We definitely like the things that we’re doing. We had 65 guys out here during the summer, so during that time we were out there lifting, and doing strength and conditioning, and we were going through film. [It was] a huge plus for us because not a lot of teams take advantage of that time period, so that was a time for us to get bigger, faster and stronger and clean up our routes and our techniques and our footwork. We’re definitely excited about where we’re at.
Q. The team has been practicing since mid-August. What do you believe to be the team’s strengths this year? How has the team been preparing for the season opener Sept. 20?
A. Our team is disciplined, tough and physical. We have speed on the perimeter and up front we are stronger and bigger than we have been in a while. We will prepare for the season opener in the same way we prepare for every game: individually, we’ll focus on getting better at our position and doing what’s asked of us. As a unit we will watch film on Lehigh to better understand their tendencies and personnel.
Q. With a strong 31-member recruiting class, in what ways do you think the freshmen will contribute this season?
A. The freshman class is very talented. If [the freshmen] aren’t contributing immediately on the field, they are pushing guys ahead of them to play better. The [intra-position] competition has raised the level of play, which is terrific for the program.
Q. This year is the 100th anniversary of the Yale Bowl. Does that mean anything special for you guys or the team, or is it just a celebration along the way?
A. It’s more so of a reminder that we play at a school with an enormous amount of tradition. We have a saying, our team slogan, our team creed, is “as I create my own path I never put myself before the team,” and everyone wants to create their own path at Yale because you’re going to go down in history among all these other great football players that have been at Yale. We definitely recognize that it’s the 100th anniversary, and it’s just awesome to be a part of something like that.
Q. Following all-Ivy and all-New England selections last year, you are a preseason all-America selection. What are your personal goals for this season?
A. My personal goals are to execute what’s asked of me and to play at a higher level than I have in previous seasons. Accolades are great, but to me they’re just expectations to play better.
Q. What were your thoughts when you found out you were elected captain for this year? What does it mean to you?
A. You get voted on by your guys that you play with and the guys that you go on this four-year journey with, so it was an honor to be voted captain. My goal as captain is to make sure the team is headed in the right direction and preserve the culture that Coach Reno is creating here.
Q. This is your senior season. What are you looking forward to the most this year?
A. Going into my senior season, I look forward to playing with the senior class one last time. The senior class has played through adversity and pushed through rough times together. I know many individuals who will go on to great things after playing, so I look forward to cherishing the time we have together, competing, hanging out and grinding.