Doug Randolph remembers watching the U.S. Army All-American Bowl well before he ever dreamed of taking part.
Back then Randolph didn't even play football. Now the four-star outside linebacker from Richmond, Va., is a month way from suiting up with some of elite prospects across the nation after formally accepting an invitation to the game Wednesday.
"I'm really looking forward to playing alongside a lot of athletes I'll be playing with the next four years," Randolph said. "Like I'm pretty sure Jaylon (Smith) is doing it, too. I know Peter Kalambayi is going to Stanford, but he's still a pretty good friend of mine, so it'll be cool to play with him."
Randolph, a Notre Dame commitment, looks forward to competing with and against several future teammates.
That could be a preview of things to come, Randolph believes.
"I think that can be a pretty good combination," he said. "(Smith is) more of the speed guy and I'm more of the power guy I think. But I think it should be a lot of fun because both see things pretty well. That can help out."
Randolph has been settled in his commitment since September after previously pledging to Stanford. He is the second Woodberry Forest School product to matriculate to Notre Dame, joining freshman safety CJ Prosise. Another teammate, junior linebacker Greer Martini, is also committed.
Turns out Woodberry Forest is an easy feeder to South Bend.
"There's a lot of similarities between Woodberry and Notre Dame," Randolph said. "My parents and I just really saw that when we were up there with the academic side of things and the structural part. We noticed Notre Dame was a lot like Woodberry and there were a lot of fits that we could make. It would be an easier transition from high school life to college life."
Later this week, the 6-foot-3, 237-pound prospect plans to reconnect with the program in person in the form of an official visit for the postseason awards show.
It will be the first time since the summer at some camps that Randolph has had a chance to meet up with fellow commitments in person and get a better feel for the surroundings he plans to join next summer.
Randolph will arrive in San Antonio for the Army Bowl carrying over the positive vibe surrounding the Irish program as it prepares for the national championship game, which is scheduled to be played a couple days later.
"It's crazy to me," Randolph said. "When I committed they were, I think they had just gotten ranked 24th in the country or something. Now they're No. 1. It's just crazy to watch them. They've gotten better every week. We've got to carry that over to next year and continue to get better every game."