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Opinion: Emergence of Harold Perkins in 2022 Was a Surprise, are There any More?

There were plenty of pleasant surprises during LSU’s first campaign under Brian Kelly in 2022, but the emergence of Harold Perkins was perhaps chief among them.

A top-five prospect coming into college, Perkins was expected to develop into a great player. But not many expected he’d be dominant from Day 1 like he was as a true freshman this fall.

Perkins is raw and needs to develop, especially when it comes to stuffing the run. But as a pass-rusher with some of the best pure athletic traits we’ve seen in a while, he managed to be a difference-maker in his first season.

He has a way to go if he’s going to develop from a pass-rushing specialist into an all-around off-ball linebacker, but that hasn’t stopped the hype surrounding the young player entering 2023. He was named the No. 7 player in college football this season.

If Maye was the best freshman in the country on offense, Perkins was on defense. He had an absolutely massive impact as a true freshman and was a huge part of LSU winning the SEC West. Perkins might have helped the Tigers avoid an upset at Arkansas with a monster outing. He finished the year with 72 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, an interception and three pass breakups.

We mention, perhaps the most impressive moment for Perkins this season came against the Razorbacks when he practically won the game singlehandedly for the Tigers despite a sloppy outing.

Perkins is still a work in progress, but after a monster true freshman, the sky is the limit for the talented sophomore, who many think could be the No. 1 overall pick in 2025 when he’s eligible.