by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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Amassing over 93 tackles across his past two seasons, 5 Star LB Harold Perkins is a consistent presence for Cy Creek's defense, however he exploded to prominence as a linebacking juggernaut throughout 2020:
Posting 47 tackles across 10 games, adding 14.5 TFLs, displaying strong coverage skills with 6 PDs, forcing 3 fumbles & recovering another for a touchdown, Harold also attacked the line of scrimmage by way of 3 sacks and 2 hurries, before adding a blocked field goal and punt........don't forget, this is a young man who simultaneously rushed for 983 yards & 14 touchdowns (receiving 371 yards for 3 TDs), proving himself more than capable in most offensive schemes.
If there's any tangible "5 star profile" that exists, then Harold Perkins is the definition.
Perkins attacks the football with bruising viciousness, he displays an innate ability to shed blocks in order to make the biggest of plays, he's a linebacker who's used his time at running back to "think like a rusher"......moreover, he's a composite of great linebacker profiles:
Harold has a little bit of Patrick Queen's side to side mobility, a dose of Devin White's swaggering devastation, a thick layer of Patrick Willis' battle-hardened "sauce", Dat Nguyen's heart and relentlessness, former Tiger Deion Jones' explosion, and a "whote lotta" new breed linebacking skills which stand alone.
He's his own player, especially when you consider just how many boxes he checks on the list:
Can he stop the run?
More than that, he can read it before he sees it.
Can he defend the pass?
Next to Unity Reed's Shawn Murphy, Harold is the highest rated coverage LB of 2022's stacked class.
Is he big enough to withstand the SEC's physicality?
Just look at him and you'll know the answer.
Can he rush the passer?
Compiling 7 sacks, 6 pressures, 2 strip-sacks from 3 forced fumbles, and 23.5 TFL in 20 games, not only does Harold work beautifully off the outside hips of edge rushers, there's even that one time he ghosted through blockers into the backfield and literally took the ball from the quarterback, rambling down the field 50 yards for a touchdown....yes, that's right....he stole the damn ball.
As for his coverage power, his "new age" coverage abilities remind me of LSU's 4th Round pick Jabril Cox, the Tigers LB who transferred from North Dakota State and grabbed 3 interceptions, running one in for a pick six on his debut before taking another just a centimeter away from the end zone. Perkins has that same kind of body control, aerial prowess and fighter's hands....he has always understood the swiveling head & rotating hips...he covers intermediary passes at nearly an elite level, and though his coverage skills wain the deeper the pass (like most LBs), his athleticism and speed always give him a chance on every play.
Defending 13 passes over the past two years, headlined by an interception returned 87 yards for a touchdown, Perkins is a dynamic certified coverage hound, holding the speed, controlling first step, and filthy recovery skills to become a Thorpe Award-nominated strong safety if he wanted to switch positions.
There's no questioning Harold's brilliance....but can LSU actually reel in the Louisiana-native?
To assist in his capture, LBs Coach Blake Baker is going all out for the five star, and just like Perkins, Baker also has dual Texas/Louisiana ties.
Also helping the Tigers cause?
Harold's Uncle Kevin Thomas, a proud New Orleans native and Tigers fan, has been pushing LSU hard...but at the same time, he's letting his nephew make the choice that's best for him.
We mentioned before that Harold took his official visit, followed by 3 separate returning trips to Baton Rouge during June. On his official visit, Harold was met by an honor guard, LSU's entire athletic department clapping and waiting to meet / greet him, then he dawned the famous purple & gold jerseys and began dancing with his family, everyone seeming to love the vibe, replete with fist bumps, loud music, hugs and the best dance moves you'll ever see at a college football photo shoot.
Ok....well one successful visit doesn't mean anything, right?
Probably not....but coming back multiple times unannounced, completely by surprise surely does.
During the one hour workouts on his unofficial returns, Harold did a private showcase for Blake Baker and his LB assistants Alec Osbourne and Jake Olsen; though he'd dislocate a finger on one rep, Perkins had the time of his life, laughing about his finger mishap with Coach O, already being so comfortable with Blake Baker they were on the same page throughout the process, taking pictures with 5 star safety Kamari Wilson, hanging out with LSU's DBU Grad Assistant Dwayne Thomas, a former DBU hero, and spending the majority of the time having a good time with his Uncle Kevin.
While the Texas talk always continues unabated, also remember one very simple & important fact: Harold Perkins' family are from Louisiana, forced to move to Houston due to the horrors of Hurricane Katrina, like many families.
Despite two 247 recruiting experts claiming Texas A&M are the frontrunner / "confidence pick", the joys of relocating back to the Perkins' first home, Louisiana, may have more magnetism than some would expect.....home is home, although Texas has been a new fortified home.
Everything seems to be up in the air with a slight Tigers lean (follow the actions, I see more action and movement in June toward Baton Rouge than I do College Station), and though the process is a long and winding road to February's National Signing Day, the Tigers may just be the team to beat if you want to sign the best LB of the 2022 class.
There's many suitors, but only LSU & Texas A&M are the two at the top for Perkins:
However, beginning with his trip to Baton Rouge for LSU's last Spring Game, followed by his celebrated official visit and three subsequent unofficial stops, I believe Harold could have his heart set on returning to Louisiana; he would undoubtedly have at least dreamed of playing a National Championship / Sugar Bowl semifinal at his hometown New Orleans Superdome.....and we can dream of watching him in purple & gold.....
Can dream become reality?
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN