During the next two months leading up to the Big 12 Media Days in Dallas, Sooners Illustrated will breakdown the Oklahoma Sooners roster, starting with Jarvis Baxter (No. 1 on the roster) and working all the way down to Marquise Overton (No. 98) and the incoming freshmen.
We’ll look at last year’s performance, the best-case scenario for this season – without projecting injuries – and what each player means to the short-term or long-term success of the Sooners.
No. 32 – RB Samaje Perine (5-foot-10, 234 pounds)
1,349 rushing yards, 16 rushing touchdowns
What happened last year: Do we really have to get too deep into this? Perine finished with his second straight 1,300-yard, 15-touchdown season while averaging more than six yards per carry for the second straight year. He was hampered by injury in the later half of the year but still started every game last season. His off-season surgery leaves a bit of a question, but by all accounts, Perine is fully healed and ready to go. He’s probably set to be a preseason first-team All-American.
Level of importance for Sooners (1-10): 9. There is not skill position player more important to Oklahoma’s success than Perine. Although, he’s not a 10 by no fault of his own. There’s a lot of growing depth behind him. He won’t be counted on to do as much this year as he did the year before, and his necessity has declined each of the past three seasons. Oklahoma has built up depth behind him, but Perine has improved his overall game as well – adding a little shake and speed last year to the powerful freshman bulldozer. He’s also a better receiver out of the backfield. Joe Mixon and Rodney Anderson – and even Abdul Adams – are ready to help Perine this year, and he’s probably pretty happy about that. He’s always been a player to want to defer to his teammates. It’s hard to defer that much talent.
Best-case scenario for this season: There isn’t much reason to think that Perine will return to Oklahoma after his third season. He has the talent. He has the ability. He’s been used pretty often in just two seasons and is on pace to surpass Oklahoma’s career carries record mark if he plays four years. So career longevity has to be a question. The only reason to think that Perine will return is Perine himself. He’s a guy that doesn’t come across as wanting to leave school or step into the spotlight of the NFL. It’s not hard to see him produce another 1,200-yard season, but a drop in carries to under 200 would be a nice touch. He could also finish with 20 touchdowns for the second time in three seasons. Perine’s best-case season has him in New York City – once in November and once in April.