Samaje Perine (born September 16, 1995) is an American football running back for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Oklahoma, and was drafted by the Redskins in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Perine was born and raised in Jackson, Alabama, but later moved with his family to Pflugerville, Texas, where he attended Hendrickson High School as a member of their football and track and field teams. He was a three-year starter at running back for the Hendrickson Hawks football team. He rushed for 1,993 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior. In his final year, he rushed for 1,492 yards and 12 touchdowns.
In track & field, Perine competed in sprints and jumps. At the 2011 Manor Relay, he earned first-place finishes in both the triple jump (46 ft, 0.5 in) and long jump (20 ft, 8 in) events, while also anchoring the 4 × 100 and 4 × 200 relay squads, helping lead them to victory. He recorded a personal-best time of 11.37 seconds in the 100-meter dash in 2011.
Perine was ranked as a four-star recruit and the No. 13 running back in the nation by Rivals.com. In March 2013, he committed to the University of Oklahoma to play college football. He also had offers from Alabama, Nebraska, TCU and Tennessee.
Perine earned immediate playing time as a true freshman at Oklahoma in 2014. In his first career game, he rushed for 77 yards on 13 carries with one touchdown. In his fourth game, he rushed 242 yards on 34 carries with four touchdowns. He rushed for 200 yards a second time, gaining 213 on 25 carries along with three touchdowns against Texas Tech on November 15. Perine rushed for 427 yards on 34 rushes along with six touchdowns in a victory over Kansas, breaking the NCAA FBS single game rushing record set by Melvin Gordon just a week earlier. He finished his freshman season with 1,713 rushing yards on 263 carries with 21 touchdowns. Perine broke the school career rushing yard record on January 2, 2017 against Auburn at the All State Sugar Bowl passing Billy Sims with a total of 4,122 yards. After the season, Perine decided to forgo his senior year and enter the 2017 NFL Draft.
Perine joined a committee backfield of Chris Thompson, Robert Kelley, and Mack Brown. After the two starters combined for 34 yards in Week 1, Perine debuted September 17 against the Los Angeles Rams with 21 rushes for 67 yards. Despite being granted the majority of the team's rushes, he had fewer yards than either Thompson (78) or Kelley (77). In Week 3 against the Oakland Raiders, he again led the team in carries with 19 but for only 49 yards, and was moved back into a supporting role. Perine collected just 59 rushing yards total in Weeks 4-9, though he did pick up his first career touchdown on a three-yard reception from Kirk Cousins against San Francisco in Week 6.
After nine rushes for 35 yards and a 25-yard reception in Week 9, Perine moved back to starting following injuries to both Thompson and Kelley. He had success in Week 10 with 23 rushes for 117 yards, as well as his first career rushing touchdown against the New Orleans Saints, marking the first 100-yard rushing game for the Redskins of the season. He followed this up the following week with 24 rushes for 100 yards against the New York Giants, marking first Redskin with consecutive yard games of over 100 yards since Alfred Morris in 2013.
During his time in high school and Oklahoma, Perine was noted for his acts of great physical strength, such as helping lift a car to help a fellow student who did not have a car jack change a flat tire. Jerry Schmidt, strength coach of the Sooners, stated that he could often out bench press most of the team's lineman, with his max being 440 lbs. Schmidt also noted that nobody else on the team was able to top Perine's max squat (540 lbs), power clean (380 lbs), or incline bench (315 lbs) numbers.