Oklahoma’s top two running backs, Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, have announced they will leave school early and declare for the NFL draft.
According to some sources, Mixon got a first round grade and Perine got a second-to-fourth round evaluation in terms of where they would go in the draft.
Mixon was suspended for a year when he arrived at OU after an incident when he struck a coed after she slapped him. He was charged and given probation with community service and underwent counseling. He returned to the team last year and played this season.
“I regret it,” Mixon said in 2014. “Every day I got to live with it, got to sleep with it. Goes on and on. It haunts me to this day. If I could take it all back, I would. There’s no way, in that environment, period, or with a person, period — a male or a female — you should get that aggressive. There’s no way you should hit a female, period.”
The departure of these two leaves a giant gap in a record-setting offense that is also losing All American wide receiver Dede Westbrook to graduation.
Mixon had a team-high 1,274 rushing yards and Perine ended with 1,060 yards in 2016.
Abdul Adams and Rodney Anderson are the only scholarship running backs at OU. Adams had 283 rushing yards including career-high games with 91 yards against Louisiana-Monroe and Kansas. Anderson suffered a neck injury during fall camp and missed the 2016 season.
OU has verbal commits from running backs Trey Sermon, Kennedy Brooks and Marcelias Sutton.
After OU’s 35-19 win over Auburn in the Sugar Bowl, Perine became the Sooners’ all-time leading rusher, topping former Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims.
“Playing for Oklahoma has been an incredible experience,” Perine wrote in a post on his Instagram account. “I am so grateful for the opportunity and everyone who has been a part of it.
Perine finishes his OU career with a school record 4,122 career yards (Sims’ previous record was 4,118). Perine did it in only 36 games over three seasons. As a freshman, Perine rushed for 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns. Perine gained 1,349 yards and scored 16 touchdowns as a sophomore In 2016 he missed two games due to injuries yet gained 1,060 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Perine holds the NCAA record for most rushing yards in a game (427 against Kansas on Nov. 22, 2014). Perine has the most carries in a game by any player in the Stoops era after he rushed 37 times for 239 yards against Oklahoma State.