I watched a game of Perkins in action from his junior season, and it doesn't take long to see why Tech offered Perkins so early in the process. He's a multi-talented back that could fit in any style of offense. This was the Scout Report I had on Perkins from that game:
I see him fitting into the Fullback (B-Back) role for Georgia Tech. He's not a blazer, but he's blazing to full speed. On a few runs I counted the steps out of the backfield it took him to get to full speed, and he was usually there in 3 strides.
He's not going to out run a lot of angles, but he's going to accelerate through a lot of holes and make people turn to catch him if they can. He doesn't have a lot of shake, but he's subtle in his shiftiness, in that he'll feint to get a guy off balance, then break the tackle. He's strong as can be and uses his stiff arm well.
He instinctively protects the ball extremely well; he doesn't strike me as a guy that's ever going to fumble much. He's solid in all phases of the game, and he's exceptional in his acceleration.
After posting a quick Scout Report on the Football Recruiting Message Board, a comment was quickly posted:
I'd be curious to know what makes someone a blazer these days. He seems to outrun tons of people on film and listed some lofty track goals in one of his interview. Thoughts on Scott's comments and Perkins speed? Maybe my perception is off. I know Jonathan Dwyer isn't just speed, but I'd classify him as a blazer based on his ability to break long ones. I view Perkins in the same light. Am I wrong?
Now, I'm of the opinion that there is no right or wrong when it comes to projecting, but one of the dangers in discussions like these is to try and use one's own definitions and applying them to someone else's terminology.
I felt this was a very good comment and decided to expand on my brief Scout Report with a more detailed break down:
I feel the ability to break long runs is more about breaking tackles than it is speed.
Rudi Johnson scored 14 touchdowns at Auburn. He averaged a mind blowing 24.5 yards per touchdown run. I don't think Rudi could break a 4.7 forty running down hill, and it cost him in the draft when he lasted to the 4th round for Cincinnati.
Johnson consistently had the balance and power to break through the first line of defense, and by the time a 4.4 forty defensive back or 4.6 forty linebacker changes directions, it's too late to catch a player like Johnson with even adequate speed.
I classify "blazers" as guys that outrun angles. I don't see
Charles Perkins as one of those guys. He's not going to beat a ton of guys to
the corner on a toss sweep on pure speed; he's not going to outrun an angle on a
What he is going to do though, is burst through a line with a combination of vision, balance, and power, and he's going to rip off a lot of long runs.
Below this video is my breakdown of each play.
#5 RB Charles Perkins
1. He doesn't beat the middle linebacker to the corner; he beats him to the ground with a stiff arm, then breaks a long run.
2. Perkins shows vision and burst through the line. By the time the defensive back turns his hips, Perkins has a 12 yard cushion. The middle linebacker was blocked on the play and never does recover. The backside safety, never has a chance to make up ground. The result of the play is a long touchdown run.
3. Shows good feet in getting the safety to miss, who had read run and was sneaking into the box. Protects the ball, buries his head and pushes forward for another five yards.
4. Maybe the best example of not needing blazing speed to break long runs. Perkins shows great vision and acceleration through the line of scrimmage, bounces it outside, but doesn't break free for a touchdown. Watching this play makes me want to know who the left DE #93 is for Mill Creek. "Blazers" don't get caught on that play.
But the flip side on that comment, is most "blazers" don't take it up the middle to begin with to even have the opportunity to break a long gain.
5. Later in the game, and the safety wants no part of a power back, a little feint to the left and Perkins breaks it for another big gain.
6. Busted play. But, I included it in his clips, because it shows how quickly Perkins goes from Stop to Go once the ball hits his hands.
7. Contained up the middle. This play shows how well Perkins protects the ball in short yardage situations.
8. Patience, vision, power... nice 10 yard gain up the gut.
9. Small gain, but I love how quickly he protects the play, steadies himself for the blow, shakes off the defender, and gets a small gain out of what could have been a disaster. This is one of my favorite plays. Coaches won't worry about giving Perkins the ball when it matters most. He'll protect it.
10. Watch how quickly he hits full speed. Arm tackles in traffic aren't going to stop him, and now I've GOT to know more on who #93 on defense is. (A little research, and I'm guessing that #93 is Oklahoma State signee Ryan Robinson, listed as #11 on Mill Creek's roster. He certainly looks capable of playing big time college ball. Players with that size and speed (6-4/235) aren't always easy to come by. A STEAL for the Cowboys. If it's not Robinson, I'd still like to know who it is).
11. Toss out of the I-Formation, Perkins is at full speed in three steps. His acceleration shocked the linebacker who took a bad angle. Another broken tackle, another long run.
12. Power up the middle, two arms around the ball.
13. Another burst up the middle, that is saved a touchdown by the linebacker hanging on for dear life.
14. Setting up the linebacker for a cutback and extra yards. Protect the ball, and push forward for another four yards at first contact.
In summary, I believe it's quite possible to not have blazing speed AND be a
threat to break long runs. A 4.4 player that can't break a tackle isn't going to
break as many long runs as the 4.6 guy that can.
Perkins is going to break a lot of long runs in his career at Georgia Tech, and he's going to be a rock solid short yardage back as well.
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