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Friday, January 4, 2013
Healthy RB Perine impresses at combine

By Damon Sayles

SAN ANTONIO -- ESPN Watch List running back Samaje Perine (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) was the talk of the U.S. Army National Combine. A shade under 5-foot-11 and now at a muscular 224 pounds, Perine is bigger and tougher to tackle.

He’s also healthy. That’s the most important thing. After an injury to his left knee that he once thought was career-threatening, Perine now not only is at full speed but also is one of the most intriguing and dangerous 2014 backs in Texas.

Perine showed his skills Friday at the U.S. Army National Combine at the Alamodome. It was his first combine since the injury, which occurred in November of 2011.

“It was good to get out and compete with some of the best guys in the country,” Perine said. “My knee held up pretty good out there and throughout the season. I don’t have any problems with it.”

Rehabilitation included weight training, a proper diet and lots of plyometric training. That combination ultimately equated to zero questions whatsoever, and Perine finished the 2012 season with 1,993 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.

On Friday, his speed, power and lateral movement made him a player to watch. He has been offered by Tennessee, Purdue and Houston so far, and he has been invited to LSU’s junior day next month.

Beyond those three offers, though, there are two schools showing major interest, and both are atop his list. Perine said Baylor and Alabama are front-runners in his recruiting process.

“With both of them, it’s just the atmosphere of the fans, the stadium and the coaching staff,” Perine said. “I like how Baylor spreads the ball out and not just pound the ball. They give receivers time to make plays, too. It’s just a good mix.

“With Alabama, I like the size of their linemen. I’ll have plenty of holes to run through with their one-back set. I think that can be pretty good for me.”