Quick start out of the gates

Walker High's Carlton Perkins is one of the hottest running backs in Louisiana Class 5A.

Walker High running back Carlton Perkins entered week four of the high school football season with hopes of breaking into the group of top-10 rushers in the state – occupied by the likes of Carencro’s Alex Johnson and Lutcher’s Daniel Taylor.

In a 46-38 win over Riverdale, which gave Walker its first win of the season, Perkins took a big leap up that list with 373 yards and six touchdowns on 25 carries.

After appearing on defense only once this season, Perkins stepped in and helped slow the Riverdale offense with his play at safety, recording eight tackles, two pass break ups and an interception.

“I was just out there doing my job, just like I’ve been trying to do all season,” Perkins said. “I was getting those same carries last season, but I just wasn’t moving at the pace I am now. I was coming along a lot slower as a sophomore.”

Perkins finished the 2010 season with 1,198 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Through four games this season, the junior has piled up 834 yards and 12 touchdowns on 83 carries. In two games on defense, he’s recorded 18 tackles, four pass break ups and an interception.

Production like that puts the 5A spotlight on Perkins, even if Walker High isn’t off to a fast start.

SEC schools like Mississippi State and Ole Miss have already been sending letters to the Wildcats’ coaching staff, as have the likes of Texas A&M and Notre Dame.

Perkins got a taste of the recruiting game when he camped at LSU during the July session, which also gave the 6-foot, 181-pounder a chance to put his skills up against some of the state’s best competition.

“I caught a couple of balls on (Dutchtown safety) Landon Collins,” Perkins said after his summer stop in Baton Rouge. “Don't get me wrong: He's tough, big and has a lot of ability, but I was able to move around on him and run just as fast as him.”

“I also went against (O.P. Walker cornerback) Dwayne Thomas and (Breaux Bridge linebacker) Lamar Louis.”

Perhaps the biggest mark Perkins left on the LSU staff came when he tested, posting numbers that ranked among the best of any prospects at the camp regardless of position.

Perkins ran a 4.46 40-yard dash and posted a 9-8 in the broad jump, 35.5-inch vertical jump and 4.21 short shuttle.

When asked how his game translates to the college level, Perkins said that he envisions playing in an offense that will allow him to maximize his speed by running outside the tackles.

“I feel like I’m a speedy guy, so I can take it up the middle when I need to, but I think my best work comes when I run outside,” Perkins said. “Maybe a spread team where I can get touches when they want to keep things fast on the ground.”

Perkins said he doesn’t have any favorites, though two undefeated SEC teams have caught his attention through the opening weeks of college football.

“One of my favorite teams is Alabama, so I would like to hear from them at some point,” Perkins said. “I also want to hear from LSU. I felt like I did better than I thought I would at camp, and Coach (Steve) Kragthorpe worked with me some and said I was a guy they liked.”

Perkins also attended the National Underclassmen Combine in Zachary, which landed him an invitation to the Ultimate 100, which he passed up to participate in team workouts in Walker.

This weekend Perkins and a Walker High assistant coach will make the drive to Baton Rouge for LSU’s SEC home opener.

“We are going to come up for the Kentucky game this weekend, and I’m excited about that,” Perkins said. “It’s my first college game this year. I went last year to the Ole Miss game at LSU, and I stayed until the end because that was a good game. I’m ready to get back over there again and see how this year’s team looks.”

Walker (1-3) travels to West St. Mary (4-0) Friday night.


Note: Below are highlights of Carlton Perkins from the 2011 season, which includes Walker High’s scrimmage, jamboree and first four regular season games.

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