NORMAN — After five-star running back Joe Mixon committed to Oklahoma last month, it didn't take long for comparisons to Adrian Peterson to begin appearing on Twitter, message boards and even in the pages of The Oklahoman.
Just as quickly, some fans and pundits responded that such comparisons are premature and unfair to Mixon, especially considering the fact that he hasn't played a single snap on Owen Field.
Mixon's position coach at Freedom High School in Oakley, Calif., though, didn't shy away from the Peterson talk.
“It's not unfair,” said Ron Rivers, who played seven seasons in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons. “I've been saying he looks like Adrian Peterson since his first year he came up to play. He's like a carbon copy of the guy.”
Mixon, the No. 1 all-purpose back in the 2014 recruiting class according to Rivals, rushed for 4,281 yards and 76 touchdowns in three varsity seasons at Freedom High.
“He has so much potential, it's unreal,” Rivers said. “You don't see many kids like that in high school. You see kids with the same kind of attributes, but not with that size.”
Oklahoma running backs coach Cale Gundy said Mixon shows “some aspects of both of them,” referring to Peterson and DeMarco Murray.
“You can put him in the slot, you can run him down the field and catch the ball on verticals and seams and smashes and DeMarco Murray can do that,” Gundy said. “He has a combination of both of those guys and obviously once he gets here this summer, we'll see how good he wants to be.