ShareThis Page
Randle stacks up with OSU running back greats |

Randle stacks up with OSU running back greats

John Harris
| Wednesday, November 7, 2012 7:24 p.m
Getty Images
Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle (1) leads the Big 12 with 934 yards rushing. Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Having played with Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders — the two most prolific running backs in school history — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy knew the question was coming:

How does John Randle stack up?

Thomas is No. 1 in school history with 4,847 rushing yards in 46 games. Sanders is No. 6 with 3,556 yards in 30 games. Both players are in the College and Pro Football halls of fame.

Randle, a junior, leads the Big 12 Conference with 934 rushing yards on 175 carries. In 34 career games, he’s rushed 465 times for 2,602 yards and 35 touchdowns.

Gundy said Randle is more like Thomas, who excelled as runner and receiver but lacked Sanders’ explosiveness.

“I don’t know that it’s ever fair to compare a guy to an NFL Hall of Famer,” said Gundy, who played quarterback at Oklahoma State from 1986-89 and is the school’s career passing leader. “But at this point in their career, Thurman was effective in the same area that Joseph Randle is.”

Randle — the top running back in a league now renowned for its prolific passing — has provided balance for an offense led by three quarterbacks this season because of injuries.

Oklahoma State hosts West Virginia at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium.

“The comparisons with Thurman are (they are) both are very intelligent and cerebral football players,” Gundy said. “Both are good runners. They’re not great speed breakaway speed runners, but they’re very effective and the get big runs.”

Randle hails from Wichita, Kan. — Sanders’ hometown — and is aware of comparisons his running style evokes with his predecessor.

“That’s what I was thinking when I first decided to go there, but it’s definitely an honor that people have put me in the same sentence as Barry Sanders,” Randle said earlier this season. “We played Little League football at Barry Sanders Football Field (in Wichita). I mean … he’s one of the all-time greats, arguably one of the best running backs of all time.”

Randle is creating his own legacy at Oklahoma State. He has rushed for nine touchdowns this season while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. He’s also averaging 116.8 yards and has 200 more rushing yards than anyone in the conference.

“He’s one of my favorite kids I’ve ever coached,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, who was Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator in 2010.”I had him for one year as a true freshman, and it means a lot to him. He lives it.

“He’s quick-twitch, he’s powerful, he’s very skilled, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, you can throw him screens and you can line him up as a receiver and throw him the ball downfield. Joseph Randle is a fantastic football player.”

John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at

Categories: WVU
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.