by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
HAROLD PERKINS (LB)
122 Tackles (89 Solo)
8 QB Pressures
-2 INT TD Returns (96 & 87 Yards)
-1 FR TD Return
2,445 Rushing Yards
34 Rushing TDs
742 Rec. Yards
7 Rec. TDs
One of the most critical signings of 2022's class, if not the most important defensive recruit of the cycle, Brian Kelly's new staff improbably flipped America's #1 LB prospect Harold Perkins from the clutches of Texas A&M at the 11th hour, immediately bolstering LSU's depleted linebacker unit.
Not only is Cy Park's Harold Perkins another 5 star Louisiana-native out of the 2022 class, he is a versatile freak of nature at linebacker, possibly LSU's biggest position of need after the NFL Draft departure of Damone Clark, Navonteque "Bugg" Strong's transfer and the injury issues / lack of development from third year LBs Antoine Sampah and Josh White.
During January's Texas Bowl in Houston, the Tigers had just 3 scholarship linebackers on roster....LSU's roster situation became ridiculous....
With National Signing Day around the corner, holding just a single linebacker within their present class, Kelly had to hit a home run on Perkins, and he did just that, orchestrating Harold's brilliant final weekend visit which sealed the deal.
Impressing the New Orleans-native Perkins family with their culture-first environment, or capturing Harold's imagination when future defensive coordinator Matt House met the 5 star for a long Zoom call, LSU's New Orleans-rooted assistants Frank Wilson & Carter Sheridan both played major roles as LSU wowed the #1 overall LB, with an assist from analyst Dean Petzing.
In securing Cy Park's thunderous talent, a supreme freak of nature capable of playing running back, receiver and at least two spots on defense, Brian Kelly and Matt House just added strong current stability & elite potential.
"His Zoom meeting with Matt House was the moment we knew he would go to LSU," a Perkins family member told me. "(LSU's new staff) couldn't get enough of Harold. I think he loved how aggressive the coaches are, he said 'they're a lot like me. I'm going home'."
Another family member then added: "He's so happy to rep The Boot. (That) means more to him than anything (in the process)..."
Over the past three years, earning starter snaps on offense as well as defense, Harold recorded a sickening bevy of illustrious playmaking synchronicity:
On defense, 122 career stops (82 solo), 26.5 tackles for loss, 14 pass breakups, 9 sacks, 8 QB hurries, 4 INTs (returning 2 for TDs from 96 and 87 yards), 4 forced fumbles, 3 recovered fumbles (1 returned for a TD from 46 yards), while blocking 2 kicks: a punt & a field goal.
When you watch Perkins on defense, he doesn't play linebacker as, for example, Damone Clark would; the NOLA-born, Texas-raised defender reminds me of a mix between the physical profile of Patrick Queen crossed with Tyrann Mathieu's scent for the ball....he can defend every blade of grass due to his thoroughbred athleticism, but more than cleaning up or stopping ball-carriers dead in their tracks, this young man is a playmaker possessing violent, ball-hawking intent in coverage or when the ball is live.
If unleashed, if given the keys to the car, if he stays healthy and demands more of himself each and every snap, Perkins has the mastercraft potential to become only the second linebacker in collegiate history to win the Butkus Award multiple times (Bosworth, 1985, 1986).........how long before House allows Harold to drive?
Adding to his defensive prowess, Perkins rushed for a disgusting 2,445 yards, 34 rushing TDs and 44 total scores (7 receiving) during his career at Cy Park; As a senior, Perkins racked up 1,194 yards & 18 rushing TDs alone, catching 300 yards, 3 TDs and over 20 yards per catch out wide, including a season long 57 yarder.
I believe Harold Perkins has a strong chance to see the field repeatedly as a freshman, perhaps even start later in 2022 alongside returning senior Micah Baskerville and second year Tiger Mike Jones Jr if Defensive Coordinator Matt House deems the NOLA Neutralizer ready.
Check out all of LSUOdyssey.com's PERKINS profiles, featuring fully detailed breakdowns, sourced info and more here.
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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