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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 48 Perkins is legitimately 6-2, maybe the longest cornerback Purdue's signed since Mike Hawthorne, back in the Joe Tiller/Jim Colletto days. There will be questions about whether a player so tall and so long-limbed can function in the open field against smaller, faster receivers, but this is where football is at the highest level, so Perkins is no unicorn. If he turns out to be what Purdue sees in him, then what a matchup problem he'd be; if he has to move to safety in time, well, Purdue needs those too. Height: 6-2 Weight: 185 High School: De La Salle Hometown: Chicago Senior Stats: 38 tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles P urdue wants size in its secondary. Byron Perkins has that. In fact, his stature gave his De La Salle High School team a presence in the defensive backfield. "He's long and lean," Coach Mike Boehm said of the 6-2 Perkins, who can probably easily add another five to 10 pounds before the fall. "His strides, he makes up so much ground." Perkins verbally committed to Purdue in June, doing so after receiving an offer following an unofficial visit to West Lafayette a couple months earlier. When he committed, he had mostly smaller-school offers, including from Miami University and Louisiana Tech among many more. Big Ten schools, which were showing interest, might have joined the offer list, had Perkins not made a preseason commitment. Purdue likes Perkins' range as a cornerback, something it told him during the recruiting process and that Jeff Brohm reiterated on the December signing day. "He came to our camp and we liked him there, he did a good job," Brohm said. "He has the ability to under- stand defense, but his range is definitely something that stands out." Perkins will probably start out as a cornerback, but it's not unreasonable to think he could grow into a safety. A former "shorter, skinny guy," per Boehm, Perkins emerged over the years at De La Salle. His growth probably will have him running hurdles this spring, after being mainly a 200- and 400-meter sprinter. "He's a hell of a worker," Boehm said. "He dedicated himself in the offseason and it's paid off tremendous for him thus far, as far putting himself in position to go to college and at a place like Purdue. It's a tribute to his work ethic." The Purdue Fit Did You Know? As a junior at De La Salle, Perkins was listed at 6-2, 165. By senior season, he was an inch taller and 20-25 pounds heavier and he could gain 10 more by his fresh- man season at Purdue. Byron Perkins Defensive back "College coach- es are enamored with height at the cornerback position, but tall cornerbacks tend to be stiff and lack the ability to fluidly flip their hips and run with receivers. Long term I see Perkins' best chances of see- ing the field as a safety." — Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt take Action photo by Brian Neubert

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