Former Theodore (Alabama) running back Lamical Perine never expected to be returning to Ladd-Peebles Stadium after in his last game before the NFL Draft.

“Being back at home at a place where I had the opportunity to play a couple of times in high school, it’s going to be just a surreal feeling to end my college career here, so I’m just pumped and excited to get on the field,” Perine told Mark Inabinett of

Inabinnet’s article recalls Perine taking a seven-hour bus ride to Gainesville so he could participate in a camp at UF. The widely-shared story made Perine a fan favorite long before he was the Gators’ top running back. Perine sees it as a fitting ending to be back in Mobile to cap off his college career.

“It’s letting me know all my hard work is paying off right now,” Perine said. “Going to Florida on that seven-hour trip, I wanted to make sure I got an offer from one of the best schools in the country, and I had the opportunity to do that. It’s been great ever since. I just thank God for everything.”

Florida’s run-blocking issues led Dan Mullen to favor the pass in 2019. Compared to his junior season, Perine logged fewer carries and gained fewer yards as a senior, but his pass-catching numbers went up. Perine caught 40 passes in 2019 after recording only 22 total receptions in his first three years. The 40 receptions resulted in 262 yards and 5 touchdowns, solid numbers for a running back.

He’s hoping NFL teams take notice this week in Mobile.

“If I had to say my strength, it’s being able to rely on me in the pass game,” Perine said. “Being a tough runner – I gain yards after contact. I feel like that’s one of the traits I have.”

Gator fans will enjoy the full feature which includes more of Perine looking back on his high school days and discussing his favorite NFL running backs.

The Senior Bowl is set for Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET on the NFL Network.