Birthday: December 14, 1983
Strengths: For Randy Starks, his strengths begin with his strength, literally. Deemed the second strongest man on the Maryland roster, Starks uses his impressive power and swift first step to be a very disruptive presence to the men defending the pocket. His solid presence up the middle is marked by his aggression. His potential on every down to be a playmaker – with nearly 100 tackles, a dozen tackles for a loss, and another half dozen sacks in 2002 – is something unique from a 3-4 down lineman.
Compared with any average football player, much less a 300-pound interior lineman, Starks is a rather athletic specimen. He maximizes his 31.5” vertical leap to bat down a bevy of passes at the line of scrimmage. He knocked down two fourth quarter passes to help the Terrapins seal a tight 24-21 win over N.C. State. After taking down another couple passes against Clemson, Starks, Starks showed Wake Forest his best Hakeem Olajuwon impression, batting down two passes to his teammates, each resulting in interceptions. Shouldn’t be too surprising Starks has such a presence when you learn he played a lot of basketball in the paint during high school.
Areas for Concern: Last year was his first full season as a starter, so Starks still needs to prove he can do it again, while at the same time keep getting better at what he does best. And even if he has a sensational junior season, there will be some who will think that Starks could really benefit from a senior season at Maryland in 2004. He will need to prove he can play the run better, especially in multiple gaps, and he’ll need to avoid the injury bug, something he was unable to do when he tweaked his groin after the first couple of downs in the Peach Bowl last season.
Starks plays with a lot of emotion, but it got the best of him when the game against Virginia started slipping away from the Terrapins in the first half. He committed a personal foul on a drive that eventually led to a touchdown that gave the Cavs a commanding lead and the momentum they needed to knock Starks and the Terrapins out of ACC title contention.
How Does He Look in Steel Blue? The Texans have been to this fishing pond once before, selecting defensive tackle Charles Hill in the third round of the 2002 draft. Compared with Hill, Starks is about two inches taller and twenty pounds heavier, but most important, Starks is flat-out faster and a far more attractive prospect. He will see some time at nose for the Terps, but Starks seems to be a good candidate to line up as a defensive end in Houston’s 3-4 scheme, and the team is in need of depth at the position.
Of course, as an underclassman, Starks would need to first declare for the 2004 draft for Houston to add him to their defensive front. While he may project as a first rounder by next April if he continues this pace through 2003, Starks may opt to wait for the NFL, hoping to cash in as a higher pick with a larger signing bonus.
(profile written by Keith Weiland
Randy Starks’ 2002 Stats G TCK TFL SKS FF FR 14 93 12.5 6.5 1 1
Randy Starks Return to The War Room
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