As a Recruit
If you've been around this site for a while, you know that Charles Perkins has always been one of my favorite players on this team. Part of the reason for that is that I watched Perkins before his white was complemented with gold -- I watched as it was complemented with green, at our shared alma mater, Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, GA. I enjoyed watching him tear it up as a running back there, and was elated to find out that Perkins was the first commitment of Paul Johnson's 2010 recruiting class, committing in February of 2009. A 5.7-rated three star prospect per Rivals, Perkins was also rated the #7 RB in the state of Georgia, a top-40 RB nationally, and the state's #44 overall prospect. (As with many of the guys in this class, it's funny to look at who was rated higher, and how much more was achieved by Georgia Tech's prospects.) It should also be mentioned that Perkins played a major part in the tight bond that his class had, resulting in arguably Johnson's best recruiting class at Georgia Tech to date. Additionally, Perkins was a two-sport athlete, starring on the basketball team when football season was over.
Perkins remained committed through his senior year, knocked out coursework to graduate in December, and enrolled at Georgia Tech in January 2010.
On the Field
When Perkins entered at Georgia Tech, the Jackets had just lost B-Back Jonathan Dwyer to the NFL, and Perkins was expected to be the B-Back of the future for Paul Johnson. He had the physical ability and build, as well as the understanding of the game -- everything Coach Johnson could ask for in a B-Back. (I asked a couple of football players about him during his first semester -- they referred to him as a "freak" in the weight room.) He was assigned the jersey number 21, most recently held by Dwyer, and before that by the one and only Calvin Johnson.
As a true freshman, Perkins was redshirted as senior Anthony Allen was the feature B-Back, with senior Lucas Cox backing him up. In the 2011 season, Perkins went into the season expecting to start, but in a competition with David Sims and Preston Lyons for the starting job. Sims ended up winning the job, but with Perkins as a main backup. Perkins ended the year with 28 carries for 95 yards and one touchdown against Kansas, playing in 12 of 13 games along the way.
In 2012, Perkins' sophomore season started off with a bang -- starting in the season opener in Blacksburg against Virginia Tech on Labor Day. Unfortunately, his season would finish with a different kind of bang shortly thereafter, with a shoulder injury cutting short the season when he was ready to break out.
The 2013 season saw Perkins back in action, but this time at A-Back. He only got 13 carries on the year in 13 games, but he turned those into 114 yards (8.77 yards per carry) and 2 touchdowns, setting a precedent for what he could do at the position. The highlight of his season came in Coral Gables, when Perkins ran 3 times for 39 yards, including a long 31-yard touchdown run.
After fighting through a frustrating and hard-fought career, Perkins stuck it out for his senior year on the Flats -- and thank goodness for that. He had his best year as a Yellow Jacket -- leading A-Backs with 49 carries and 443 yards, and trailing only Synjyn Days, Zach Laskey, and Justin Thomas in those categories. Perkins had 59 rushing yards against Georgia Southern, 65 against Miami, and 79 against North Carolina, before taking a throwback pass on third and long 79 yards to the house in Pittsburgh.
Though he missed two games and was limited in another in the middle of the season with an injury suffered against Pittsburgh, Perkins returned to the lineup to have a huge impact on the Jackets' last three games. Against georgia, he had 6 carries for 48 yards -- leading A-Backs in carries and trailing only Deon Hill in yards. He'd add 9 carries for 64 yards in the ACC Championship against Florida State, and capped off his career with 7 carries for 59 yards against Mississippi State in the Orange Bowl (leading the A-Backs in carries and yards in both games).
The biggest thing to remember about Charles Perkins on the field was his resiliency and willingness to do what it took to best serve the team. He fought through injuries, he served as a blocker, he was beat out on the depth chart, and he changed positions midway through his career. Perkins had adversity at every turn in his career, and never once gave in or quit. He's a shining example of what Georgia Tech demands from its students and athletes alike, and I've always been extremely proud to say that I know him and went to high school with him.
Off the Field
Something you may not know about Charles Perkins is that he was married back in 2013. Something else you may not know is that the best man in his wedding was former Georgia Tech LB/DE Jeremiah Attaochu, now playing for the San Diego Chargers. Perkins was one of the most beloved players in the locker room, and maintained very close relationships with countless teammates. He was extremely close with Synjyn Days and Justin Thomas, just to name a few. He was a team player through and through, and his impact on the locker room cannot be understated.
I would also say that Perkins is one of the friendliest individuals I've come across at Georgia Tech. I'll humble myself with this quick story: When I first went up to introduce myself at a dining hall in January 2010, he seemed genuinely happy to meet me and talk to me about life at Tech. From there, any time I saw him around campus, I was always greeted with a smile and a handshake -- he always remembered me and never once showed any sense of ego. I genuinely appreciate that to this day.
Charles Perkins graduated from Georgia Tech with a Bachelor's of Science in Management in December 2014, and has just started his career as a sales associate for Mondelez International.
Charles, it's been an honor and a pleasure cheering for you in your time at Georgia Tech and considering you to be a friend. Congratulations on a wonderful career. Thank you for your dedication and effort, and for the impact you made on your teammates, me, and everyone else around you. Good luck to you as you begin your career!