Cowboys running back Joseph Randle was a hot prospect coming out of Wichita Southeast High.
So hot, Kansas started scholarship talks when he was still in elementary school.
“I got a scholarship offer from them when I was in the fourth grade,” Randle said Monday, warming up for Saturday's visit to Lawrence.
The Jayhawks were recruiting Randle's big brother, John Randle, and would eventually get him. When coaches from KU and other schools made their in-home visits, little brother used the opportunity to put himself on the map.
“I was the happiest one in the house when they came by,” Joseph Randle said. “I'd be popping in my highlight tapes. Not my highlight tape, the regular game. I never came off the field. So it was like the whole game was a highlight tape back then.”
The clearly confident Randle wasn't wooed only by the Jayhawks, who were coached by Mark Mangino at the time.
Randle said Missouri's Gary Pinkel and Kansas State's Bill Snyder dangled scholarships at that time, too.
“They all said, ‘We're going to offer you when you get of age,'” Randle said. “I was like, ‘All right.'
“I was playing hard to get even back then.”
OPPONENT WATCH: KU CONTROVERSY?
At 1-4, the Jayhawks are off to a stumbling start.
So KU coach Charlie Weis is getting his younger players ready … for the future.
That's what the first-year coach said Monday on the Big 12 Conference call, saying, “We practiced without seniors on Sunday. We need to develop younger players for the future.”
Quickly, those words set off alarms that perhaps Weis has given up on this season — and his seniors — with OSU due in Lawrence Saturday.
Weis told the Kansas City Star that he'd have done the same if the Jayhawks were 4-1. Maybe Weis is using Sunday — typically a light workout for teams that practice that day — to focus on the youngsters.
Still, it didn't go over well with critics.
COWBOYS STRESSING TAKEAWAYS
OSU ranks 101st nationally in turnover margin, a startling stat for a team that has used the takeaway to a major advantage the past three seasons.
The Cowboys led the country with 44 take-aways a year ago, yet have managed just four in four games thus far this season.
“We've been working on it every day,” said OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young. “We worked on it (Sunday) night. We're just emphasizing it to no end.
“Eventually it will turn around. The ball is going to bounce the right way or we'll get a tipped pass. I've always felt turnovers come in droves, and hopefully we'll have one of those five turnover games soon and try to catch up. We're definitely behind, and we have to do something to make up ground.”
NO LOOKING BACK ON TEXAS
Due to a bye week, the Cowboys had extra time to lament a last-minute loss to Texas.
If there were any regrets, center Evan Epstein said that's all over now.
“We have an ‘L' in the books, so sitting there and thinking about it is going to do absolutely nothing for us,” Epstein said. “One of the greatest things about our team and about our coaching staff is that we have a really short-term memory.
“We're going to move on and prepare for the next game. We're not even thinking about Texas. We're thinking about Kansas.”