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Oklahoma football: Why running back Samaje Perine turned down Alabama for OU

The longtime Alabama fan saw a chance to get early playing time at Oklahoma. His high school coach said he was also impressed with how OU handled his recruitment
by Ryan Aber Published: May 11, 2013

Hendrickson has produced plenty of productive running backs for the Big 12 in recent years in Texas' Daje Johnson and Texas Tech's Kenny Williams. Both played as freshman.

Perine — and Killian — were also impressed with the way the Sooners handled his recruitment.

“Coach (Cale) Gundy did a great job of building a relationship,” Killian said. “He handled it in a professional way. It wasn't a high-pressure thing and he didn't tell him stuff just to get him to commit.”

Perine broke out as a sophomore but his season ended with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in the second round of the playoffs in a game Hendrickson lost.

But Perine came back just fine.

“He's just an extremely powerful kid,” Killian said. “He benches 415 pounds and squats, I don't know, 550-600 pounds. He's got great hands.

“I'd love to play him at linebacker if he'd let me. But he wants to carry the rock.”