Samaje Perine to Declare for the NFL Draft

It took less than 24 hours after Oklahoma’s convincing Sugar Bowl win over Auburn for one of the big offseason questions facing the Sooners to reach resolution. Running back Samaje Perine has played his last game at Oklahoma.

The 5-foot, 10-inch 235-pound junior running back ended a sensational collegiate career with an 86-yard rushing performance in the Sugar Bowl. That total was below his 106-yards-per-game average, but was enough to make him the OU career rushing leader with 4,122 yards, achieved over three seasons.

The former Sooner career rushing leader was Billy Sims, who gained 4,118 yards on the ground over four seasons.

“To be the all-time leading rusher at a place like Oklahoma, when you look at the lineage through the decades, is really something special,” said Sooner head coach Bob Stoops to reporters, including ESPN’s Mitch Sherman, after OU’s Sugar Bowl win over Auburn.

“Playing for Oklahoma has been an incredible experience…I hope to continue to make you all proud” –Samaje Perine, OU career rushing leader

Perine’s name sits at the top of a list of all-time Oklahoma great running backs. Names that include Sims, Joe Washington, Steve Owens, Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray and Greg Pruitt.

Perine wrote, in an Instagram post reported by ESPN’s Sherman and others, “Playing for Oklahoma has been an incredible experience. I am grateful for the opportunity and everyone who has been a part of it…I hope to continue to make you all proud.”

He went on to thank Stoops, offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley and assistant head coach Cale Gundy for “always pushing me to be my best and allowing me to grow within the program.”

In his freshman season, in 2014, Perine set an NCAA single-game rushing record with a spectacular 427-yard performance on a rainy, sloppy November afternoon in a game against Kansas.

Perine is projected as an early-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft.

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