IN OTHERS' WORDS: How Strong is Samaje?
Sophomore running back Samaje Perine just might be the strongest player on the 2015 OU football team. He's also one of the quietest. Since the humble Perine, who led the Big 12 with 1,713 rushing yards last year (the second most by a freshman in OU history), isn't a big fan of talking about himself, we asked others close to him to describe just how strong he actually is.
Director of Sports Enhancement Jerry Schmidt
"You could tell when he first got here that his high school coaches did a great job. They emphasized how important it is to be strong. He opened everybody's eyes, even our upperclassmen. He's just a real humble guy and doesn't say anything. It's almost scary. He just works and you don't even really know he's in the room. Russell Dennison, one of my assistants, works him out and has a really good relationship with him. They're going along and they're putting weight on the bar and Samaje just gives him that look like, 'Is this all you're putting on here?' And it's all the time. You never see the guy get tired. Normally a guy has a weakness, whether it's upper body or pulling sleds or whatever it may be. But he doesn't have any. He just gives you that look like, 'What's next?' Reminds me of another guy we had here named Adrian Peterson."
Senior Center Ty Darlington
"He's probably the strongest person on the team, and that includes the offensive linemen. We outweigh him by a lot but he might bench press more than all of us. I remember watching him play at the West Virginia game and he got through the line and it was a decently blocked play. There was a defensive back and a linebacker that just hit him in the leg and just bounced off. That's what opened our eyes like, 'Wow.' You're not bringing him down with just one guy. If he wasn't playing football, he'd probably be swinging a sledgehammer on a railroad. I got to swing a pick axe with him in Haiti breaking up some concrete and I was in awe."
Junior Quarterback Baker Mayfield
"First of all, you don't find a kid that age who looks like a grown man. He looks like he's about 40. And then you put him in a weight room and he looks like he's in the world lifting championships. He's a freak. He plays around and tries to be gentle, but he's not very gentle. He doesn't know his own strength. He'll try to rub your neck and your shoulders and it hurts really badly. He needs to calm down."
Sophomore Fullback Dimitri Flowers
"I've seen him run over multiple people in practice and not even trying to do it, either. It just happens because of how big he is and how strong he is. I think some of the defensive players are afraid of him. I think a lot of them are, but they just won't admit it."
Senior Linebacker Eric Striker
"His strength is very impressive. At the age of 15, he was 34. He's a strong man, a very, very strong man. I don't know where he came from. It's got to be a gift from God to be so strong like that at 18 or 19 years old. I just don't understand."
Junior Cornerback Zack Sanchez
"It was December around the time of the bowl game. I had rolled my ankle, so I'm working out with the guys that were injured and we do 10 sets of 10 on bench (press). This dude had 225 on it for 10 sets. Nobody finishes with the weight they start with, except Samaje. And (former strength) Coach Rodney (Rideaux) is talking to Samaje the whole time thinking that he can't do it. So Samaje gets to his last five reps and he's just staring at Rodney the whole time. So he did 100 reps at 225 with ease and that's when I knew this was the strongest dude that I've ever seen in my life."
Senior Receiver Durron Neal
"I worked out with him this whole summer. He got me strong. When we were doing incline bench, I had 205 (pounds) on the bar, but he slapped on another plate and that made it 315 (pounds). He did it like it wasn't even hard. He just took a little deep breath like 'huuuuuh,' and that was it. I was like, 'Are you serious bro? Is that not heavy to you?' That just blew my mind. One time we were doing the alternating dumbbell bench (press) and he went straight for the 125-pound weights. He did them like he was just tossing cheese puffs."
Senior Offensive Lineman Nila Kasitati
"He could be an offensive lineman. He probably has the strength of two linemen. It's really incredible seeing him in the weight room. I think if you put a lineman against him he'd probably drag that guy. I'll just say I'm glad I'm on his side when we're running the ball."
Freshman Linebacker Ricky DeBerry
"If he was a superhero he definitely would be Superman. He has incredible strength and he can't be stopped. I'm afraid to say it, but he doesn't have a kryptonite. Hopefully he can make some Superman plays this season."
Junior Linebacker Jordan Evans
"When he was a freshman and he came in and we did our max out on bench (press). I lifted 275 like 12 times and I felt like I was doing good. Then they said Samaje did that weight like 20-something times. And I said, 'What in the world is going on here?' It's hard to defend him. He's so strong and low, it's basically like trying to tackle a big 'ole bowling ball. So you definitely have to be prepared and it'll take all of your might to knock him down."
Junior Running Back Daniel Brooks
"I saw him bench press a car one time in the middle of the night and he tried to act like he didn't do it. He was curling the car too, I think."
Senior Defensive End Charles Tapper
"That guy is strong. He's like a human bowling ball. Meeting him in the hole is a scary sight. I feel sorry for most of the defense that has to tackle him. He's the Hulk and Superman in one. He's fast. He has deceiving speed and he's strong as an ox. He bounces off tackles. He's not a big talker. The only way he talks is if you say something that gets to him. Other than that he's just going to break you down and you're going to feel bad looking at him do it."