Arguably the best running back in the Big 12 the past two seasons is headed to the NFL a year early. Oklahoma State's Joseph Randle announced on Thursday he's heading to the NFL.
I've decided to pursue my dream of playing in the NFL. I'll always be a Cowboys!— Joseph Randle (@JRAN_1) January 10, 2013
It's a tough blow for the Cowboys, but then again, it's hard to argue with his decision. He's totaled over 2,600 yards on the ground the past two seasons and maybe more importantly, did it without missing a single game which should put to rest any doubts about his durability.
He can also catch the ball out of the backfield hauling in 71 passes during his sophomore and junior seasons. And if there's one thing a running back is required to do in OSU's offense, it's pass block, both of which are traits that will serve him well at the next level.
Even with Randle's departure, the cupboard isn't exactly bare at the running back position in Stillwater. The Pokes return both Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland next season.
Smith has served at Randle's primary back the past two seasons. Smith has rushed for 1,279 yards over the past three seasons with his most productive year coming as a sophomore in 2011 when he totaled 646 yards on 91 carries. That season he rushed for 140 yards against Texas including touchdown runs of 30 and 74 yards.
As for Randle, he's projected to be drafted in rounds two or three and is ranked between the third and fifth ranked running back available.
Of course, that can change between now and the draft, but whatever the case, which ever teams draft him is going to be getting a guy that can do whatever is asked of him, something that won't be lost on NFL scouts.