Articles

Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Bustin' Out: Rueben Randle

Rueben Randle

(Editor's note: "Bustin' Out" offers a glimpse at college football prospects poised for a breakout year. Last season's candidates included Golden Tate, John Clay, Jacory Harris and Jeremy Beal.)

To say that Rueben Randle's production in his first season didn't live up to the considerable hype that accompanied his arrival at LSU would be an understatement.

Randle, ranked by Rivals as the No. 1 receiver and No. 2 overall prospect in the 2009 recruiting class, finished the year for the Tigers with just 11 catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns.

Randle's talent and physical tools give him the look of a future superstar. He flashed some of that tantalizing potential in a 25-23 loss to Ole Miss in which he caught two touchdowns.

Yet, he didn't have anywhere near the impact that highly touted predecessors Julio Jones and A.J. Green had for some of the Tigers' SEC rivals a year earlier.

Whereas Green and Jones stepped in as go-to guys, Randle was competing for catches among a talented group of pass catchers last season.

Brandon LaFell, LSU's top receiver each of the last three season, looks like a potential first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft pick. Rising senior Terrance Toliver was a huge recruit in his own right. Dependable TE Richard Dickson served as a security blanket for QB Jordan Jefferson.

Between them, the upperclassmen accounted for roughly 70 percent of the Bayou Bengals' catches, receiving yards and touchdowns. With LaFell and Dickson gone, LSU coach Les Miles and, in particular, offensive coordinator Gary Crowton are undoubtedly counting on Randle to become a major part of the Tigers' attack. The lack of proven depth in the offensive backfield will only heighten the importance of Randle's development.

Despite his overall lack of production as a freshman, Randle did make it onto the field enough to gain some needed experience for the upcoming season. Expect Randle to really come into his own in his second year, laying the foundation for a potential All-American season in 2011.