With the 2014 class officially in the books (pending an official announcement from Deondre Clark), the Oklahoma Sooners can rest easy knowing they possess the Big XII's top recruiting class. Ranked 15th nationally by Rivals.com, the coaching staff addressed one of the most obvious needs in a big way. Losing three senior running backs proves to be detrimental not only to experience but also to depth at the position.
A quick look at the roster reveals only two backs with any sort of experience. Keith Ford is the favorite to win the starting job early on. However, Ford struggled with fumbling issues as well as an injury that limited his carries on the season. Behind him, Alex Ross found much of his playing time on special teams. Combined, the two "experienced" running backs have 26 carries between the two of them leaving room for an open competition.
Welcome Joe Mixon to the scene. A 5-star recruit out of California, Mixon has received much ado and fanfare. Don't get me wrong here, it is well deserved praise as I expect him to start as a true freshman halfway through the season. Yet, Sooner Nation may be overlooking one Samaje Perine.
Samaje's a big, strong, physical, impressive looking kid. When you see him walk in the door, he looks like a grown man. - Josh Heupel via NewsOK
He's very athletic guy for a big guy. He's got great feet and he's got great hands. He (bench presses) like 385 pounds and he squats over 500. Just ridiculous numbers right now. - Cale Gundy via NewsOK
It is not uncommon to see college programs use a two-back approach. For Oklahoma, no group embodies that idea more than Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray. In 2008, these two backs rushed for over 1,000 yards each.
Currently standing 5-11 238, Perine is built like a fullback possessing a rare athleticism about him. Looking for an inside runner? This kid continues to be remarkably effective when running between the tackles. It is this characteristic that makes him a compliment and change of pace to nearly anyone in the country. Combine his running ability with a talent for blocking and it becomes clear as to why Perine is a real competitor for early and consistent playing time.
Don't sleep on Samaje Perine!