Joseph Randle's cell phone ringtone is a subtle reminder of what he hopes to achieve this football season.
With each call, the rap song "Successful" blasts from the phone's speakers. Hearing the softly delivered chorus —"I just want to be, I just want to be successful"— inspires him, he said.
As much as he is about being a team player, the senior knows a lot will be on his shoulders this season.
"Joseph Randle is not the Southeast football team. But, I think if I have a great year, the team will have a great year," Randle said. "You heard the ringtone, I just want to be successful. I want to have at least a 3.5 GPA this year, get a college scholarship and have every team I play on play to its full potential."
Randle, who has four offensive linemen returning in front of him, learned the value of having an experienced line as a sophomore. He rushed for 1,733 yards, including 197 yards in the Buffaloes' first-round Class 6A playoff victory that season. Last season, Randle rushed for 925 yards.
Seeing his numbers slide didn't upset Randle (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) as much as a 5-4 record. Being a member of the varsity squad since his freshman year, he has grown into a leader, coach Gary Guzman said.
"He's not the type to just talk and not do his part," Guzman said. "He's one of the leaders of this team and he's earned that through his hard work."
Randle is not made from hard work alone. Coming from a very athletic family, Randle's talent doesn't surprise many. But his sophomore numbers turned the heads of college recruiters, who surprised him in the fall before his junior season.
"The offers came a lot quicker than I thought. I got three offers at the beginning of last season," Randle said.
The offers and letters haven't stopped. His current schools of interest are Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Stanford and Oklahoma.
The Randle family mailbox is familiar with recruiting mail. The first name is just different this time around.
Randle's older brothers, Larry and John, were standout athletes at Southeast. Their dad, Larry Randle Sr., has been a fixture in youth football as a coach for the Wichita Bulldawgs.
Larry Jr. played at Emporia State and John was a standout running back at Southeast before playing at KU and Southern Illinois.
"Joe's progressing pretty well. He's a lot bigger than me and Larry coming out of high school," John said. "As long as he works hard, he's going to go as far as he wants."
The Randles are a close-knit family and have always been there for one another, Joseph Randle said. Having people around him that he trusts is something that he values.
"Having that family atmosphere around me is a must," Joseph said. "I've always been close to my family and my teammates. Wherever I go to school, it will have to have a family atmosphere."
Randle will take all five of his paid recruiting visits this fall and doesn't expect to commit early, he said. While most schools are recruiting him at running back, he is athletic enough to play several positions, said Jeremy Crabtree, recruiting analyst for Rivals.com.
Playing time — not position — is a big factor in where he goes, Randle said.
"I'm a ballplayer. I like both sides of the ball," Randle said. "I'll probably go wherever I get the chance. I'd like to go somewhere where I can make the decision of where I play on my own."
Wherever that might be, Randle doesn't plan on taking his scholarship for granted. While he has hopes of playing in the NFL one day, he isn't counting on it.
"I plan on taking advantage of every opportunity I get from football," Randle said. "Ain't no way I'd be looking at a Stanford it if it wasn't for football. That's about $40,000 a year."