As players take their final breaks before training camp, The Redskins Blog will take a look back at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them, football and otherwise, so far.
Today we’ll focus on rookie running back Samaje Perine:
1. He is one of four Sooners on the Redskins team.
Drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma, Samaje Perine joins former Sooners Tress Way, Trent Williams, and Stacy McGee in Washington.
Though Perine did not take the field with any of the other Redskins' Oklahoma players, they share a Sooner bond. In an interview with Redskins Radio, McGee commented on Perine’s talent.
“I’ve seen a lot from him just, you know, as quick as he is, his bursts, once he hits the line he doesn’t like, slow down or tip toe, he hits the gap and just goes,” McGee said. “He’s looking to score every time he touches the ball and I mean, he’ll make you miss as well.”
Playing with Perine has impressed McGee even more than the running back’s commendable collegiate performance.
“I didn’t expect that [explosiveness] from watching him playing at OU,” McGee said, “I didn’t see much of that, but it’s like, going against him, seeing him, he has some quickness and agility too.”
2. He's a record-breaker.
Perine is Oklahoma’s all-time leading rusher, accomplishing the feat with 4,122 yards in three years.
In each of his four seasons, he recorded at least 1,050 yards and 12 touchdowns. During his freshman season in 2014, Perine set the single-game NCAA record for rushing yards with 427 against Kansas.
3. According to head coach Jay Gruden, he’s the “total package."
Valuing a player’s positive attitude just as much as his performance abilities, Gruden sees both assets in Perine.
“I like guys who come in here and love football and he does,” Gruden said. “He’s a very smart guy. You can tell that he’s going to be a very hard worker, and he runs hard. You could see that his pad level is always down, he’s got good vision, he’s got good feet in the hole and he caught the ball well.”
“Not to mention, the character on this kid is A-plus,” he added. “We know we’re going to get the most out of him. He benched 30 times on 225 [pounds], so we know how strong he is. Just a total package is really what we liked.”
Not only has Perine impressed Gruden, but he has also passed running back coach Randy Jordan’s expectations of a rookie. The coach explained that for most young running backs, he has to advise them to slow down their game and trust the offensive line, but with Perine, instruction has been different.
“I’ve never had to do that with this guy,” Jordan said of Perine. “It was almost like I had to speed him up. So he’s got a good feel for the game, he’s got good feet, good vision. He’s strong as an ox. And the thing is, he catches the ball so much better than whatever I thought he could do. So I think he’s going to do a very good job for us.”
4. He’s so strong that he once lifted a car.
From hoisting cars to executing dangerous workout stunts, the 5-foot-11, 236-pound running back has always found ways to test and build his strength.
At 12 years old, Perine realized that he would need to bulk up to launch a successful football career. After maxing out on his first set of weights, Perine told ESPN.com that he duct-taped bricks onto the dumbbells to increase intensity.
Diversifying his at-home workouts, he also performed pullups on the balcony bars of his two-story house.
Later at Oklahoma, Perine was helping a woman change a flat tire, but she did not have a car jack. Without hesitation, Perine lifted the vehicle, a Smart Car that generally weighs in at 1,500 pounds, so that the pair could finish the job.
"It was kind of heavy,” he said in the same article. “I mean, I wouldn't say it was easy. It's still a car."
With a 540-pound squat, 380-pound power clean, and 225-pound bench press, Sooner’s director of sports enhancement Jerry Schmidt shared that other Oklahoma players could not compete with Perine’s numbers.
"No one was lifting more [at Oklahoma]," Schmidt said. "It wasn't even close."
While coaches and fellow players have marveled at Perine’s iron-pumping production, the player does not regard his strength as anything out of the ordinary.
"I just see what I’m doing as being the norm for me," he said. "I love the weight room, and I love to work out."
- He is serious about his role with the Redskins.**
Though rookies and veterans have had just a few weeks of practice so far, returning Redskins players have recognized Perine’s presence. Fellow running back Rob Kelley has observed Perine’s determination and dedication to the team.
“If you sit down and talk to him, he’s a mature type of guy though,” Kelley said of Perine. “You can tell he’s more serious, on a serious tip, and he’s coming in ready to work.”
6. His name comes from the family.
Used to receiving inquiries about his unique name, Perine easily explains its origins.
“I’ve gotten that question a lot,” he said. “My mom, she’s always said that she wanted a variation of Sam because my granddad’s name is Sam and then I have a couple of Sams in the family, so she wanted a variation of Sam. But she didn’t want Sam, that specific, so she just put a twist on it and came up with Samaje.”
7. He magically proposed to his girlfriend.
Perine recruited magician Daniel Fernandez to make the player’s proposal to his then-girlfriend of five years, Megan, unforgettable. In a show put on for Perine and friends, the magician facilitated the proposal, and the couple wed on June 23, 2017.