IN THE HUDDLE: Kevin Perez

While he has made his decision to attend the University of Georgia, and will enroll at the Athens campus in January, www.floridakids.us felt that we would take you up close and personal with one of the top offensive line prospects in the state of Florida.

During the summer and into the season, www.floridakids.us will bring you our IN THE HUDDLE segments with football players throughout the state of Florida.

These are similar to the evaluations we pass on to the hundreds of colleges who visit our website, call us on the phone and correspond via e-mail.

Here is another top football player to keep an eye on this season – and beyond.

PLAYER: Kevin Perez
POSITION: OL
SCHOOL: Miami Killian
HEIGHT: 6-4
WEIGHT: 275
40 SPEED: 5.36
HEAD COACH: Billy Rolle
www.floridakids.us Pre-Summer Rating: 43

Last season, during a tremendous stretch run toward a 6A state championship, Miami Killian had the opportunity to compete against some of the top teams in the highly-competitive world of Miami-Dade County football.

While most of the attention was being paid toward standout defensive back Demetrice Morley, and for good reason, college coaches, recruiters and Internet companiess had the pleasure of watching some of the other athletes this program had to offer.

Killian has long been a school that has had more than its share of talented football players. Dating back to the 1960s with quarterback Jim Stoeckel (Harvard) and running back Rufus Ferguson (Wisconsin), and later with athletes such as Randal Hill (Miami), Evan Cooper (Michigan), Rod Payne and Derrick Gibson (Florida State).

If you watched the 2004 edition of Killian football, and saw the way this team moved the ball, the focus was up front, where athletes like Perez was singled out for his size, athletic ability and instincts of playing the game.

The Perez that you saw at the end of the 2004 season and the player who will lineup in the fall for the Cougars are two different people. The one who will pave the way for the defending state champions is in better physical condition, has a better understanding of the game and one who has already set his plans for the future.

With the University of Georgia being the school that Perez and his family decided on, all that's left is to repeat the season as champions and have an opportunity to play for the state title at home – in Miami.

STRENGTHS: Say what you would like about Perez, but you better add in competitor and someone who is willing to do what ever it takes to improve.

From the first time I watched him, I was sold by his footwork, athletic ability and overall desire to want to improve and get better.

Even when he attended the Florida-California practices last January to see teammate Ian Bustillo, Perez already had his senior year in view. Between the time the season had ended and the first few weeks of the new year, he had gained 10 points and was working five days a week with a personal trainer.

As I watched some film clips in three selected games of last season, I forgot how much of an athlete he was. This was someone with a great first step and a lineman who used his entire body very well. His run-blocking was impressive, since he had the opportunity to do so much of it. He trapped, pulled out and learned how drive block his opponent back until the whistle blew.

He also showed up to camps and event even when he was injured, just to show his face and take part in what the events had to offer.

WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON: At the University of Georgia, balance will be a key, which means pass blocking will need to take center stage. The Bulldogs went after Perez because of what he can do through the course of several series and not just for his run blocking ability.

While I watched him pass block, there were plays that certainly showed what he needed to work on to get better and become the total offensive lineman.

Getting stronger and remaining healthy is a must and spending more time in the training room will put him behind. That's why he decided to graduate early and enroll next January in Athens so he can get an edge for the spring.

OVERALL: Many people have their opinions on Perez, who first made news when he attended a University of Miami practice prior to the Hurricanes . While the Hurricanes never really went after this hometown standout, there is a sense that when he improves all facets of his game, he could be another in a long line of local line prospects such as Steve Hutchinson (Coral Springs), Davin Joseph (Hallandale), Payne and Max Jean-Gilles (North Miami Beach) who left the area to head out of state.

COLLEGES ON THE HORIZON: Made his decision to attend the University of Georgia, although several other schools were looking at him.

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