Perine welcomes Mixon into the fold

Competition can scare people away but not Samaje Perine, who is thrilled OU has added Joe Mixon to its running back class.

No recruit is going to back down from challenge. A little competition isn't going to scare away a commit from coming to a school.

But nobody could have anticipated how Oklahoma's 2014 running back class was going to shake out. The Sooners made it pretty clear early Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson powerhouse Samaje Perine was in the short list.

OU running backs coach Cale Gundy put in the work and locked his commitment last March. The goal, however, has always been to have two running backs for the class.

Months went by and targets emerged. Fringe targets emerged and one major one become the focus of OU's search in Oakley (Calif.) Freedom five-star back Joe Mixon.

Already with Perine locked up, all the eggs went into the Mixon basket. And to the shock of some, it worked. OU put the program back on the national radar with an upset win against Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

The Sooners then put themselves back in the recruiting spotlight when Mixon committed to OU at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio less than 48 hours later.

"I was really excited. I watched that and heard it like everybody else," Perine said. "I know it surprised a lot of people, but I'm thrilled."

The addition of a five-star talent like Mixon is great for the class but sometimes could lead to recruits at the position looking elsewhere. It has been a few weeks since Mixon's commitment, and nothing has changed with Perine.

Following his official visit last week, things are even more solid with Perine. He's not worried about some competition, even if it is from somebody as talented as Mixon.

"It's another back and another person competing for a spot," Perine said. "The way I see it you have Keith Ford and Alex Ross already there. You add myself and Mixon. That's a backfield that's going to be really tough to stop.

"I don't think the conference has ever seen that many talented backs like that before all at the same time."

Some early thoughts had Perine moving to fullback and that's not the case. He's just a big back, up near 240 pounds right now. He said that's not a concern because of how fast he can lose and gain weight real easy, and he's ready to compete.

"I've always respected how Coach Gundy has handled things," Perine said. "Nothing was ever promised. It has been the same the whole time. The opportunity is there if I come in and work hard and compete every day. It's up to me."

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