MANHATTAN — Joseph Randle wasn't supposed to make an impact this quickly at Oklahoma State.
With dynamic running back Kendall Hunter returning healthy for his senior season and already over the 1,000-yard mark seven games into it, Randle didn't figure to see much playing time until his sophomore year.
But the former Wichita Southeast standout has not only made his way onto the field as a freshman, he has impressed OSU coaches along the way. Randle has compiled 437 yards of offense and scored two touchdowns.
Just think of the impact he could make without the Big 12's leading rusher in front of him on the depth chart.
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"The kid has potential to be a very good football player," said Oklahoma State running backs coach Robert Gillespie. "He's very skilled catching the ball out of the backfield and has really good vision. He's only going to get better, and he's got a bright future at Oklahoma State."
OSU doesn't allow football players to speak with the media until they have spent a year in the program, but Gillespie said Randle is enjoying his time in Stillwater.
By rushing for 95 yards and a touchdown against Texas Tech earlier this season, he proved himself as a capable backup. But his football knowledge and work ethic made him popular in the locker room from the start.
"He has made an incredibly smooth transition, learned from Kendall and done a good job picking up the system," Gillespie said. "Joseph has been a good addition. He does what he's supposed to do and is a good teammate. Everyone likes him."
Randle, who comes from a football family, chose Oklahoma State over a host of other schools last year. Today's 11 a.m. game against Kansas State will be his first college game in his home state.
It is an occasion both he and a handful of Wichita natives who play for the Wildcats are looking forward to. K-State wide receiver Chris Harper said he has known Randle since eighth grade, and has always considered him a friend.
"I don't see it as a rivalry," Harper said.
With the way Randle's career has started, they seem certain to meet again in the future.
"I don't think it's fair for anyone to sit here and say, 'He could do this or he could that,' " Gillespie said. "But Joseph has the tools. He's such a young player and has handled everything so well. As long as he continues to have the want to improve, there's no telling what could happen."