• John Macon Gillespie

Joe Perkins On The Rise

At just 14 years old Joe Perkins is making a name for himself this summer. His technique, size and skill have made him look like an experienced high school vet, but he will take his first varsity snaps at Murrah this fall as a freshman.

Additionally, he has been invited to more prestigious camps and showcases this summer. He’s gotten feedback from major college coaches, learned his strengths and also uncovered areas to work more at.

“My main goal this summer is to get better at my position and learn all the coverages. I’m also working hard to get bigger, faster and stronger. I can play receiver but I love playing safety,” Perkins told SES Mississippi. “I’ve learned that my hips and feet need to move quicker and the coaches showed us drills to help with that.”

“I think I shocked coaches when I told them I am 14 years old. The coach from Michigan told me ‘good job’ during the drills. I also talked to the coaches from Jackson State and Alcorn State. The defensive backs coach from Michigan said I had good foot work.”

Hearing that sort of praise from coaches on the next level had an effect on the rising freshman.

“It really made me feel good, but I know I still have a lot of work to do. It did give me encouragement to keep grinding, though,” He said.

Playing against competition and being competitive and free is something Perkins loves about the game of football. Additionally, he also loves the fact that the game allows him to play hard with his teammates. That is something he is excited to do at Murrah this fall.

“I want to be able to do my part come game time to help the team win,” He explained. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to play with guys who have been playing for two or three years. I can learn a lot from them and competing with them at practice will only make me better.”

Recently, participating in a 7-on-7 event with his Mustang teammates, he picked off a pass and deflected “four or five” passes. He has benched as much as 135 pounds and squatted 275 pounds. This summer he has clocked a 4.84 40-yard dash as well as a 4.59 shuttle drill time.

In middle school football last season he tallied three picks and three touchdowns on the season. He’s committed to not only being a playmaker on the next level, but being consistent.

“I have to keep working hard on the field and in the classroom every day. I try to do more than the next player. My mentality is if I work when they sleep, then I stay ahead,” Perkins stated. “I have sseen and heard about a lot of great Mississippi football players from my dad and other family members. I want to be one of those greats. My dream is to be great for myself and my family.”

However, the player that Perkins has singled out might surprise you.

“He isn’t from Mississippi but I look up to Troy Polamalu. He played hard his entire career and never backed down. That’s how I want to play safety,” He said. “I think I find the ball well like Polamalu. I want to help the defense force turnovers, like he did.”

**Photo by Natalie Pierce.

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