After making a name for himself as a true freshman at Oklahoma State, Cowboys running back Joseph Randle has made the decision to leave after just three—albeit productive—seasons at OSU.
Randle was a critical part of the Cowboys' potent offense over the past three seasons, serving as a quick pop on the ground and a reliable receiver out of the backfield.
There's a wide range of opinion surrounding Randle and his transition to the NFL.
While some believe he's nothing more than a developmental third-down back, Randle has the potential to become much more than that with a few tweaks and improved pass-blocking.
Full Name: Joseph Randle
Birthday: December 29, 1991
Hometown: Wichita, Kan.
School: Oklahoma State
As a two-way player and track star at Southeast High, Randle was ranked by Rivals as the fifth-best player in the state of Kansas.
Despite a lengthy offer list from a number of schools, Randle jumped local programs like Kansas and Kansas State in order to join the Cowboys' high-powered offense at Oklahoma State.
Randle is one of many underclassman running backs, including Giovani Bernard, Eddie Lacy and Marcus Lattimore, who are leaving school early to pursue the NFL.
One has to be in favor of the versatility that Randle's college numbers suggest. He's not only getting it done on the ground by way of gaudy YPA averages, but he also has a track record of being targeted as a receiver out of the backfield.
Additionally, scouts always want to see improvement out of a guy as his college career moves forward, and Randle has that too. He played meaningful football as a true freshman in 2010, he made huge strides as a sophomore and he ended last season with 274 carries, proving that he can shoulder the load.
2010: 13 games, 82 attempts, 452 yards, 5.5 YPA, 2 TDs
2011: 13 games, 208 attempt, 1216 yards, 5.8 YPA, 24 TDs
2012: 13 games, 274 attempts, 1417 yards, 5.2 YPA, 14 TDs
Total: 39 games, 564 attempts, 3085 yards, 5.5 YPA, 40 TDs
2010: 13 games, 37 catches, 427 yards, 11.5 YPC, 1 TD
2011: 13 games, 43 catches, 266 yards, 6.2 YPC, 2 TDs
2012: 13 games, 28 catches, 224 yards, 8.0 YPC, 0 TDs
Total: 39 games, 108 catches, 917 yards, 8.5 YPC, 3 TDs
Weight: 204 pounds
Arm Length: 31 3/4"
Hand Size: 8 3/4"
40-yard Dash: 4.63 seconds
Broad Jump: 123"
Three-Cone Drill: 6.97 seconds
20-yard Shuttle: 4.25 seconds
Built more like a receiver than a running back, Randle's numbers at his pro day and at the combine weren't all that surprising.
Two things in particular, however, stand out.
For one, Randle didn't participate in the bench press. Although there may not be much to gain from the exercise if he's not putting up at least 20 reps, it's a decent representation of upper body strength at the position.
Secondly, Randle's hand size is a bit surprising. For being such a common receiver out of the backfield, you'd think his hands would be a bit larger. Hopefully there's no hiccup in transition to the NFL.
In addition to running back, Randle was also a defensive back at Southeast High School. As a senior, Randle earned first-team All-State on defense and second-team All-State on offense.
Randle also participated in track during his prep years, running the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes, as well as earning state qualification in the triple jump and long jump.
Considered the fifth-best player in Kansas by Rivals as a senior in high school, Randle received multiple offers from other top programs such as Arizona, Boston College, Ole Miss, Missouri, Stanford, Texas A&M, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa.
The Cowboys wasted no time getting Randle on the field, as he finished his freshman season second on the team in rushing, fourth in receiving and second in kick returns.
Randle is only the sixth player in Oklahoma State school history with multiple 1,000-yard seasons.
He has also racked up more rushing touchdowns (40) in college than games played (39).
After being named first-team All-Big 12 in 2011, Randle took it a step further this past season, once again earning first-team All-Big 12 and becoming a finalist for the 2012 Doak Walker Award.
According to NFL.com, "[Randle] shows once wiggle in his game once past the line, gets would-be tacklers to lean the wrong way. Seems to fall forward a lot, and is adding weight to his frame each season to get stronger."
He has "...very good speed and acceleration, not easy to catch from behind. Lowers his pads and tries to run over defenders, generating power from his fast momentum and running with purpose," according to NFLDraftScout.com.
Backs with the ability to catch out of the backfield can go a long way in the NFL. B/R's draft expert Sigmund Bloom sees some of that with Randle, noting, "He has soft hands and he is very natural adjusting to the ball and switching into run-after-catch mode as a receiver out of the backfield."
"Randle has nice moves to dodge defenders with cutting ability. He isn't a physical runner who powers through tacklers and picks up a lot of yards after contact. There are times when he runs with an attitude, but it isn't consistent enough," according to Walter Football.
"Randle gets most of his interior rushes out of shotgun draws and does a good job finding little cracks to get yards through. He’s not dangerous on these because he gets taken down by minimal contact," according to DetroitLionsDraft.com.
But Randle isn't Barry Sanders. NFLDraftScout.com is sure to point out a few of Randle's weaknesses, noting, "Leaner than ideal frame. Runs too upright at times and needs to show consistent pad level. Vision has improved but still has room to improve in this area, missing the run lanes at times. Run instincts are good, but still developing."
At his pro day, "Randle ran the 40-yard dash three times, finishing in 4.54, 4.60 and 4.63 seconds. Randle caught the ball out of the backfield alright, but a splint on his right thumb made it difficult," according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com (via CBS Sports).