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Top 70 MAC Football Players: #33 Randall Jette (DB- UMass Minutemen)

We're flying with our number 33 selection

Bob DeChiara (USA TODAY Sports)

It isn't surprising to see a Minuteman in the top 40 players of the MAC. You're probably expecting many of them (which would be unheard of three short years ago.) What is surprising is the side of the ball our number 33 player comes on.

UMass's defense had issues all last year. In a game where Blake Frohnapfel shattered the MAC passing yards record, UMass somehow managed to lose the game. The word sieve gets thrown around a lot these days, but never has it been so fitting. Yet here we are, at 33, praising a member from this defensive core that let up the second most defensive points in the MAC east in conference play, and for good reason too.

Teams adjust. When they know they can't go one way, they go another. Jackson Porter was used and abused last season, because teams knew they couldn't go the other way, because Randall Jette was there. Randall was third in the MAC with passes defended with 14, averaging 1.5 a game. Of course, if he wasn't defending the pass, he was just straight picking it off, also tying for third in the MAC with 4. He's not just a ball-hawk though. Of all defensive backs, Jette found himself in the top 15 in tackles.

His play has definitely caught the eye of those in the know. Phil Steele named him a preseason first-team defensive back for the MAC.  So did Athalon sports. Jette also found himself on the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, which is awarded to the top defensive back in the nation.

Jette is now entering his senior season. In the three previous years, he started all but one game. Jette has the experience, the physical talent, and the awareness to make this upcoming season one that's not just standout for the MAC, but standout for the nation. UMass may give up points, but not to Randall Jette.