Junior RB Samaje Perine and the Oklahoma Sooners face off against the Auburn Tigers tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET in the Sugar Bowl.
Perine is built like a workhorse running back, listed at 5 foot 11 and 235 pounds. Perine and backfield mate, sophomore Joe Mixon, powered the third ranked total offense in college football. College Football Reference ranks the Sooners 2016 strength of schedule at 41st out of 128 teams.
Perine played in only nine games this season. Despite battling injuries and splitting time with Mixon, only Perine and Garrett Wolfe reached 4000 rushing yards and 48 rushing touchdowns in 35 or fewer career games since 2000 per Sports Reference.
As Jordan Hoover mentioned in early November, most of Perine’s production came in his first two seasons with close to a fifty percent market share of Oklahoma’s rush attempts, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.
Since that November 1st article, Perine picked up more rushing opportunity in their final three games. He boosted his 2016 market share of rushing attempts and yards from 27 percent to 34 percent in both categories and accounted for 40 percent of the Sooners rushing touchdowns.
Samaje Perine is built like Eddie Lacy and Andre Williams. While those seem like ominous comparisons, both were considered good prospects entering the NFL. Neither of which have the production resume of Perine, especially at such a young age.
Perine has displayed some competence in the passing game, something that Williams never did at any level and what Lacy wasn’t often asked to do with the Packers.
I expect Perine to succeed if given a similar role to what Lacy experienced in Green Bay. In the right situation, he could be a highly productive running back capable of scoring double-digit rushing touchdowns each year. He’s currently expected to be a second or third-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
We’ll have to see what his combine numbers look like. We know Perine is unbelievably strong (the quote in the video below saying he did 100 bench reps!?!). He’s still relatively young and would be 21 years old at the start of next season.
Perine will be a power back at the professional level. His fantasy viability will be heavily dependent on where he lands and who he shares touches with. I think an ideal situation would be to serve as a complement to a receiving back like Ty Montgomery, Theo Riddick or Jerick McKinnon.
Perine is an elite talent who has been consistently dominant at the college level beginning in his freshman year. He could end up being a steal that drops to the second round of 2017 rookie dynasty drafts.