NY Jets’ fourth-round pick La’Mical Perine has quite a compelling background.
The Jets drafted Perine in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft with an eye on both the present and the future. They’ll expect the former Gators standout to be an immediate contributor on offense, but the pick was much more than that.
Perine could very well be the future of the Jets backfield. At the very least, he’s someone they’d love to become a fixture in their offense for years to come.
Le’Veon Bell could very well be playing his final year with the Jets this upcoming season given the structure of his contract. And if Perine could show enough in his rookie season, he could convince the Jets that he’s the player they need to build around in the backfield.
He certainly should be given every opportunity to prove his worth.
But at this point, we’ve all read/heard about his strengths and weaknesses. We know about Perine the player, but what about Perine the person? What’s his story? What’s his background?
Today, we take a look at three interesting things about Jets’ fourth-round pick La’Mical Perine.
Next: 3. He turned down an offer from Alabama
3. NY Jets’ running back La’Mical Perine turned down an offer from Alabama
La’Mical Perine has been playing football for most of his life, but he wasn’t always a running back. The Alabama native actually played linebacker for most of his middle school days before lining up at wide receiver as a freshman in high school.
It wasn’t until his sophomore season when he switched to running back that he finally put his name on the map. But even still, he wasn’t receiving much interest from the top in-state schools with his only prominent offer coming from Mississippi State.
As Perine later recalled, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn infamously called him “too slow.” And the other in-state powerhouse, Alabama, didn’t give him much attention either.
But after a trip down to Gainsville — we’ll get to that — earned him a scholarship from Florida, more schools became interested. One of those schools was Alabama who came calling late in the recruiting process.
However, rather than flipping his allegiance to Nick Saban and company, Perine remained loyal to the Gators and turned down a scholarship offer from Alabama.
Perhaps it was for the best as Perine would have been asked to compete with the likes of Damien Harris, Josh Jacobs, Bo Scarbrough, and Najee Harris. Once Najee Harris inevitably gets drafted next year, all four would have been drafted and played in the NFL.
It takes moxie to turn down an offer from a program as prestigious as Alabama. Perine didn’t just remain loyal, he rejected Nick Saban to do so.
That’s about as admirable as it gets.
Next: 2. He comes from a football family
2. NY Jets’ fourth-round pick La’Mical Perine comes from a football family
For those who follow the NFL relatively closely, it might not come as a surprise that one of Perine’s family members is currently playing in the NFL.
Former fourth-round pick and current Cincinnati Bengals running back Samaje Perine is La’Mical’s cousin, but the family lineage doesn’t stop there. In fact, Perine has another notable relative playing in the NFL whose name is a bit more notable.
With two relatives playing in the NFL, it’s easy to see that football and just athletics in general run in Perine’s family. But it isn’t just limited to those two either.
Perine’s father, Terance, played college football at both Auburn — the school that would later call his son “too slow” — and Jacksonville State. Meanwhile, his paternal grandfather, James, was an offensive guard at Lincoln University and coached for 32 years at Vigor High School in Prichard, Alabama.
Even his mother, Sabrina Haywood, won a state shot put title in track in high school.
Perine is far from an outlier and with two of his relatives already in the NFL, he’ll have to prove himself in order to carve his own legacy in the league.
But given his family genetics, he should already have a leg-up on the competition.
Next: 1. Taking matters into his own hands
1. NY Jets’ running back La’Mical Perine took matters into his own hands
Fans love a good old fashioned feel-good story. We love seeing an underdog challenge the status quo and achieve their dreams against all odds. It’s a fantasy we all yearn for.
And in the case of La’Mical Perine, that fantasy became a reality.
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As previously noted, Perine didn’t originally receive much interest from top schools aside from Mississippi State. But rather than waiting for an opportunity to come to him, he decided to go out and create an opportunity for himself.
After Florida — a school he would refer to as his “dream school” — had shown interest but not offered a scholarship, he decided to take a trip down to Gainsville to make the program take notice.
Perine took a 14-hour Greyhound bus trip down to the University of Florida and attended a three-day camp that was being held on campus. When all was set and done, he had earned MVP honors at the camp and left with a scholarship offer.
He committed to the school the very next day.
And again, despite later receiving offers from schools like Alabama, he remained committed to Florida. If that isn’t a picture-perfect feel-good story then I don’t know what is.
Perine made his college dreams come true by driving to the figurative brass ring and grabbing it.
And if he’s willing to go that far to ensure that his collegiate aspirations are fulfilled, who knows what he’ll be willing to do to ensure his NFL success.
Stay tuned folks.