Four-star running back Samaje Perine has an extremely interesting top three of Oklahoma, TCU and Alabama, but which of these programs provide him with the better fit?
Perine is going to bring a lot to the table for one of these three prospective programs. He has elite size at 5'10'', 224 pounds and he combines that with a very impressive 4.7 40 according to 247Sports. He's not exactly a speedy back, but considering his size and quickness, he should be a very effective runner between the tackles at the college level.
Here's what Perine had to say about his top three, per Jason Howell of Rivals.com:
"Right now I'm looking at mainly Oklahoma and TCU. Alabama has kind of a fallen off a little bit because of their numbers, but they're still at the No. 3 spot," Perine said.
"But mainly for me I've been hearing from Oklahoma and TCU the most. It seems like those two are the ones who want me and need me the most so I've kind of taken a look at them closer. I'm going to try and get up to Oklahoma this Tuesday for their spring practice."
Perine also discussed what he was looking at for each program, per Howell:
"I'm looking at the number of running backs they have and how many they're going to have once I get there," Perine said. "I'm looking at how their running backs produce and how they've produced in the past. All of those three schools have had great running backs go to the NFL and the main one right now is Adrian Peterson and he's doing great things with his career so that's a big plus for me."
That's good news for Oklahoma, because he had this to say about the Sooners, according to Howell's report:
"The thing about Oklahoma is it's a great school," Perine said. "I was talking with Coach Gundy. We keep in touch every couple of days now. It's just the opportunity I would have there because they're losing three running backs I think he said, so he said they would need to sign two in my class. So that opportunity would be great because I'm trying to play as a true freshman. That would a real, real cool experience."
Depth chart is always the first factor that I look at when trying to determine a good fit for a recruit, and you'll be hard-pressed to convince me otherwise. Most of these recruits are elite high school players that are used to starting and in some cases playing the whole game mind you, so finding a situation where they can replicate being "the guy" as much as possible is a huge.
I've never met one competitive athlete that doesn't want to play as much as possible and as soon as possible, so Oklahoma gets the edge in this scenario. With specifically Damien Williams and Brennan Clay moving on, look for 2013 5-star running back Keith Ford to step up big time in 2014, and Perine would have the chance to be an important backup behind him.
He and Ford could combine to form a very formidable "one-two" in the Sooners' backfield, and having the chance to make an impact as a freshman for a program like Oklahoma is hard to pass up. Perine would be a good goal-line or short-yardage option, and he could be a very valuable member of the offense very early on.
Also consider Oklahoma's relevance and constant high expectations, and there's plenty of reason to like the Sooners program if you're a running back recruit. The opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Demarco Murray and Adrian Peterson is undoubtedly a big one. But then again, in TCU's case the chance to be the next LaDainian Tomlinson could be intriguing, and the Crimson Tide's history of sending backs to the NFL as of late is well documented.
That said, even though Alabama is great at utilizing multiple running backs, Ford would be hard-pressed to compete to see playing time, especially considering 'Bama's impressive 2013 running back class.
TCU would afford Perine the opportunity to play in-state, just about two hours and 45 minutes away from home. That said, senior Waymon James should see a lot of carries as will sophomores B.J. Catalon and Aaron Green. When James moves on Perine could work himself into the No. 3 role behind Catalon and Green, but there's no doubting the fact that Oklahoma provides him with more opportunity.
Combine that with a bigger national draw and a good NFL pedigree, and it seems like Oklahoma really fits the description of what he's looking for.
If Perine is OK with leaving the state, the Sooners undoubtedly seem like the best option for him.