By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
After eight years, a Randle will be starting at the running back position at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan. While in 2004 it was John Randle, Saturday it will be his younger brother — Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle.
“Now that I’m the starter going up there, it’s a little different,” Joseph said.
Though Joseph did see limited action when Oklahoma State made the trip north in 2010 in his freshman season — with him getting four carries for 19 yards and a touchdown — Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. game will be his first start at Kansas, a program which recruited him while also recruiting his older brother.
In John Randle’s sophomore season at KU he led the Jayhawks in rushing with 540 yards. He also caught 35 passes for 274 yards and led KU in scoring with nine touchdowns.
As a true freshman in 2003, John played offense and defense, earning him honorable mention All-Big 12 Conference honors. In that season he was KU’s third-leading rusher with 503 yards, while also collecting 22 tackles from the cornerback position.
“I was actually on the sideline back then. They didn’t even care,” Joseph said. “I would always try to sneak on the sideline. They all knew I was the ball boy or the water boy or something. Whatever I had to be to be on the sideline.
“Then once I got on the sideline we’d probably be playing tackle the man on the sideline. Just playing some football on the sideline or something.”
However, John’s time at Kansas would end after two seasons as he was kicked off the team after a series of arrests. He went on to finish his collegiate career at Southern Illinois, where he rushed for 1,606 yards and 15 touchdowns.
“We talk a couple times throughout the week,” Joseph said. “Me and brothers talk a lot and my dad calls me every day.”
The talent of his older brother led Joseph to be a hot commodity for the local college coaches. When John was being recruited, so too was Joseph — he had received three scholarship offers when he was still in the fourth-grade.
“Coach (Gary) Pinkel offered me, coach (Bill) Snyder offered me and (then-KU coach Mark) Mangino offered me,” Joseph said. “I’m dead serious. They were like, ‘We’re going to offer you when you’re of age.’ But I was playing hard to get even back then.”
So with the likes of Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri already pitching Joseph in elementary school, why did he decide to leave the state and make Oklahoma State his home?
“Because they weren’t winning any games. I didn’t want to go somewhere I was going to lose,” Joseph said. “That’s why I’m so serious right now, here — I’m committed to win here. That’s why I came here, because I felt that we could win here.”
Now that he gets to head back to KU, this time as the starter, Randle said he expects plenty of family and friends to make the two-and-a-half-hour trip from Wichita, Kan.
“There’s going to be a lot of people,” Randle said. “I have a big group of people that always wants to come (to Stillwater). But since this one is in Kansas, a lot of the (OSU) players’ families may not want to make the trip, so I’ll have some extra tickets to bring as many people as I want.”