A name that has very strong SEC ties and throughout college football in general, Perine’s father, Terrance, played at Auburn, and his cousin is former Oklahoma and current Cincinnati Bengals running back Samaje Perine.
Lamical has a very close relationship with his mother, Sabrina Haywood, and step father, Jimmie Haywood. Alongside his two parents, Perine made the ultimate leap of faith. A standout rusher at Theodore High School (Alabama), Perine finished his final season by recording 1,416 yards on 216 attempts and 15 touchdowns.
Before the All-state accolades and monstrous season, the highlight of his entire football career came during the summer of 2014. As a 16-year old, Perine took a leap of faith by boarding a greyhound bus to make the overnight trip from his hometown of Mobile, Alabama to Gainesville, Florida to attend the Gators one-day summer football camp. At the time, the only big time offer that he owned came from Mississippi State, but after watching the golden years of Urban Meyer in The Swamp, Florida was his dream school.
The coaching staff liked Perine’s ability on film, but they wanted to see him in person. After a long 14-hour bus ride and a workout in front of every member of the staff, Perine left campus with a full scholarship (May 28, 2014) and he wasted no time with committing the very next day upon his return home.
As a true freshman, he played in all 13 games -- finishing as the team’s second leading rusher with 91 carries for 416 yards and one touchdown. His role increased as a sophomore, starting 8-of-11 games, he led the team in rushing with 562 rushing yards on 136 carries and eight scores. Perine also added another 81 yards on 10 receptions and a lone touchdown.
He would continue to make his presence felt as a junior (2018), participating in all 13 games with one start, he led the team in rushing for the second consecutive season with 134 carries for 826 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
After an offseason where he said he wanted to lose weight in order to gain more speed, the dedication has seemed to payoff for him during his final season with the Gators. His stats may not reflect it as he has 328 rushing yards in six games, but the role he has played in the teams backfield has help the resurgence of the program.
Where He Wins (+)
Perine is outstanding at making split second decisions on inside runs. Quick appearing defenders hardly ever force him to panic into making bad decisions. He's shown to be capable of picking his feet up and executing an effective jump cut plus a violent off-hand swipe to avoid them before resetting his eyes to the next most dangerous threat in his vision. Excellent at setting up moves by using his body as a shield to then break tackles soon thereafter.
He's patient and has the allowance of letting blockers deliver their blocks. When running behind puller(s), he uses his off-hand as a guide to ensure that he doesn’t overrun blocks to allow free tackles on unblocked defenders. The Gators rusher exhibits a high level of understanding of the difference between zone and man blocking concepts, which dictates his tempo and exact patience levels.
Perine naturally operates at the ground level because of his body structure and his low pad level. Both help him explode through the first level. His thick frame allows him to repeatedly surrender hits to no avail. If not properly wrapping up or displaying arm tackle attempts, tacklers seldom have success with bringing him down.
Where He Needs to Improve (-)
He doesn’t have the ability to pick up or throttle down his pace. This is a large reason why he mainly operates in second gear. His operating speed is enough to help him win and gain sporadic chunk plays, but he will not be mistaken for an explosive option that will break off immense gains often. When in the open field, he noticeably keeps his head on the swivel to avoid instead of trying to win with speed.
When runs aren’t blocked up cleanly and he’s forced to make moves right away, Perine surrenders to burying his head and hoping to return back to the line of scrimmage instead of trying to avoid and create by deleting opening play mess ups from blockers.
Slamming on brakes or redirecting involves lots of extra movements in order to change directions. The extra strength required to move his thick hips and thighs are evident. Plenty of stiffness when forced to create or make sudden east or west movements.