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Samaje Perine’s vicious running style should help Washington

The Oklahoma product punishes defenders — and is productive in doing so.

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Auburn vs Oklahoma Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine used his size and toughness to gain tough yards for the Sooners and will continue to do just that for Washington, who selected him 114th in the fourth round. Perine, at 5’11 and 233 pounds, is a powerful back who consistently gains yards.

The 21-year-old rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his three seasons at Oklahoma. In Perine’s freshman year, he ran for 427 yards against Kansas, eclipsing former Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon’s NCAA record for the most rushing yards in a game (408).

Did anyone have a better NFL Combine than Perine?

The Oklahoma product showcased his strength at the NFL Combine, performing 30 reps on the 225-pound bench press drill, which was the most among running backs and more than others in different position groups. That was a special moment for the bruising runner, but it wasn't his biggest.

Perine proposed to his girlfriend, Meg, with the help of magician Daniel Fernandez and a creative magic trick.

Why did Washington draft Perine?

Perine should be able to shoulder a heavy workload in the NFL.

In three seasons at Oklahoma, he ran the ball 685 times. Each year, he took at least 196 handoffs, including a career-high 263 in 2014 when he was a third-team All-American and the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year.

Based on his rugged style and past production, Washington can use Perine to wear down defenses.

Never-say-die runner

Perine is a man on a mission when he has the football. He doesn’t fall to the turf easily. Defenders will not stop him with arm tackles. In a 35-19 win against Auburn in the Sugar Bowl last season, the former Sooner turned what looked like a short gain into a 15-yard run.

As soon as Perine took the handoff, he started to run up the middle, but there weren't any creases available. So he cut to the outside, stiff-armed one Tiger, and dragged another along the way. In fact, Perine became the program’s all-time leading rusher after that scamper.

Perine has been wreaking havoc on the ground since his freshman year in 2014. He ran for 427 yards, an FBS rushing record, in a 41-7 victory against Kansas. Perine broke the record with this scamper:

Perine rarely goes backward.

A sure thing in the red zone

Perine will likely be a threat in the red zone. In college, he was virtually unstoppable near the goal line.

Late in the third quarter against Baylor last season, Perine took a direct snap at the 1-yard line and plowed over defenders to give his team a 34-10 lead. As soon as Perine received the snap, he ran up the middle and took on three Bears en route to the end zone. He kept his legs churning. Defenders were unable to wrap him up.

Perine finished his OU career with 49 rushing touchdowns, running for 16 or more in each of his first two seasons before he split time during his junior season with Joe Mixon.

Are there any concerns with Perine?

Perine has the power teams covet in a running back, but top-end speed and burst are lacking. He ran a 4.65 in the 40-yard dash at the combine, which isn't bad for someone 233 pounds, but not ideal. As a result, he’ll likely struggle to run to the outside, probably limiting his opportunities if he’s only going to run up the gut.