There were plenty of pleasant surprises for LSU during a 10-win run in 2022 that came out of nowhere, but perhaps nothing was more impressive than the play of true freshman linebacker Harold Perkins.
A top-five prospect coming out of high school, the former five-star was expected to develop into an elite player. But no one expected he would have the impact he did as a freshman.
He was LSU’s most disruptive edge defender, leading the team in sacks and tackles for loss, and his versatility allowed him to be used at the edge and off the ball — where he likely projects next season. For his efforts, he’s been named an early preseason All-American by ESPN’s Chris Low heading into 2023.
As one of the nation’s top freshman defenders a year ago, the 6-2, 220-pound Perkins will be an even better version of himself in 2023. He can make plays sideline to sideline, and with a year’s worth of experience in the SEC and a whole year in the offseason strength and conditioning program, he’s braced to become one of the most feared pass-rushers in college football. Perkins led LSU in tackles for loss (13), sacks (7.5), quarterback hurries (14) and forced fumbles (4).
Perkins was raw this season, but if he can develop a wider skill set, he has all the tools to be one of the most dominant players in college football. That could be the case as soon as this fall.
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