DALLAS — Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine stepped into the OU weight room for the first time in the summer of 2014, and it took him no time to stand out.
The way quarterback Baker Mayfield told the legend at Big 12 Media Days, Perine hopped right on the incline and pressed 315 pounds about 10 times like it was nothing.
“I never even thought about bench pressing that 10 times,” Mayfield said. “I kind of looked at him and thought, ‘All right, I know what we’ve got here.’”
Such stories are nothing new, but the canon of Perine's feats continues to grow.
Perine said Tuesday he can do anywhere between 30 and 40 bench reps at 225 pounds (he said was doing 35 in high school). To put that in perspective, an NFL.com database lists NFL Combine stats going back to 2006. No running back in that time has benched more than 32 reps at 225.
Perine went on to list his maxes at 450 on bench, 325 on power clean and 600 on squat.
“(The squat) was in high school,” Perine said. “They haven’t let me heavy squat since I been here, so I don’t know what I can do now.”
Mayfield played against Perine in high school and certainly had some sense of what he was dealing with, but Mayfield didn’t know the extent of the bearded beast Perine would become. Perine enters his third season at OU with a chance to solidify himself as one of the program’s great running backs, and he has the big biceps and intimidating look to go along.
“He looks like he is 32,” Mayfield said. “I played him in high school, but he didn’t have a full-grown beard and look like a lumberjack then. He’s a man among boys.”
Perine, of course, attributes much of his on-field success to his work in the weight room. That’s not a new sentiment for any athlete, but Perine is not just reciting a platitude.
“The weight room has always been my second home,” he said. “When I don’t feel like doing anything else, I feel like lifting weights. That’s always been my fall-back. It’s done me pretty well so far.”
OU coach Bob Stoops wasn’t aware of the numbers, but that’s no matter. Those only add context to what is obvious to anyone who has stood next to the Sooners’ bruising lead back.
“He’s about as strong as they get,” Stoops said. “Popeye’s got nothing on him.”