It’s safe to say Carlton Perkins has arrived.
Last fall, Perkins was a little-known sophomore running back at Walker High. Though he finished the 2010 season with 1,198 yards and 13 touchdowns, his name wasn’t on the top of college recruiting boards – he wasn’t even being chatted about on message boards, for that matter.
One year, 24 touchdowns and 1,807 yards later, Perkins has the full attention of college football coaches and recruitniks.
Despite a 3-7 finish for Walker, Perkins was a gem from start to finish, closing the season second on the Louisiana total rushing yards chart – trailing only Carencro’s Alex Johnson, who rushed for 2,033 yards and 29 touchdowns.
“I was pretty happy with how I finished out,” Perkins said. “Not many people can say that they did the stuff I accomplished as a junior. And I still have my senior year.”
It wasn’t all smooth sailing.
Perkins was hobbled midway through the season with a pulled hamstring, which kept him in and out of games from early October through the end of the month.
“Didn’t keep me out completely, but it limited what I could do,” he said. “I couldn’t run full speed and cut when I wanted to. They limited my carries during those games, like when we played against Live Oak, Central and Zachary.”
His marquee outing came on Sept. 23 against Riverdale, a fourth-week game that Walker entered at 0-3.
“I ended up with 373 yards and six touchdowns,” Perkins said. “Everyone stepped up and did their job that night, and I was just on fire. It felt great to step up for the team like that and get our first win.”
With his junior campaign in the rearview mirror, Perkins said he would begin focusing on colleges – and he has some mail to begin sifting through.
“I have a lot of people sending stuff to me after the season I had,” Perkins said. “LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Arizona, Duke and Tulane are some schools off the top of my head. Stuff is coming from all over.”
As for early favorites, Perkins picked out two of the SEC’s best teams.
“I really want LSU and Alabama to offer,” he said. “Those are two teams that are high up there for me.
“I have already made some trips to Baton Rouge. I was at the LSU game for Kentucky and Auburn, and I will be there for Western Kentucky this weekend. I have really enjoyed that atmosphere. The student body, I like it a lot. They are crazy. That is what I look to be around.”
The bigger question might be where does the 6-foot-1, 180 pound Perkins project? At this summer’s LSU camp, he ran a 4.46 40-yard dash and soared 9 feet, 8 inches in the broad jump, 35.5-inch vertical jump and 4.21 short shuttle.
“I think it might be as simple as the SEC schools like me as a defensive back and other conferences like me as a running back,” Perkins said. “Next year I will be playing a lot on both sides of the ball, so I might get a better feel for things then.
“My coaches didn’t want to run me into the ground knowing I am taking as many carries as I was, but next year I won’t be as limited in going both ways.
“I think whatever success I have then and in camp next summer will probably determine whether I end up at a school as a running back or take a scholarship and play on the defensive side.”