Like pretty much any other student who gets accepted to Georgia Tech, Charles Perkins has a good grasp on basic math and science.
In fact, the Collins Hill senior running back - and Tech commitment - approaches the game of football with a certain scientific method.
And he uses a simple mathematical equation to explain it.
"It's just like my dad always told me," Perkins said. "Preparation plus opportunity equals success."
Judging from his numbers during his first two years as a starter in the Collins Hill backfield, that equation looks pretty accurate.
After finishing 10th in Gwinnett County in rushing with 803 yards and 10 TDs as a sophomore, Perkins used more extensive preparation leading up to his junior season to run for 1,247 yards (sixth best in the county) and 10 TDs a year ago.
And the 6-foot-1, 205-pound tailback has taken the preparation part of the equation to an even higher level this year.
He's added about 10 pounds of muscle to his frame and plenty of strength - including setting a new school record of 310 pounds in the squat - during his preseason weightlifting program.
Having watched how Perkins has gradually built himself into a dominating runner over the past two years, Eagles coach Billy Wells is hardly surprised at the results.
"Charles has always been one of the standout players in his class," Wells said. "The thing that helps Charles is, he's made the progression every year to that next level.
"As a sophomore, he played better than he did as a freshman. As a junior, (he was) better than as a sophomore. Expectation-wise from what he's done in the spring and what he's done (during the summer), he's still continuing to grow as a player. And certainly, he's grown from a young ninth-grader into the high-character young man he is now."
What Perkins says has fueled his progression is an inner drive that has been with him ever since he began playing competitive sports as a young child.
"I've always wanted to be the best at whatever I do," Perkins said. "That's why I work so hard. ... There's always something to prove.
"I've done all the preparation. Now, I've just got to go out and get the job done on the field."
That drive is also a big reason Perkins committed to Tech even before last year's seniors got to National Signing Day over scholarship offers from Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Central Florida, and most recently N.C. State and Virginia Tech.
It's also why he plans on graduating from high school shortly after the season ends in December in order to enroll at Tech in January and get acclimated to both the academic and football environments.
However, Wells says Perkins' drive and determination are more than just a means to his personal ends.
"Probably the biggest thing that Charles says for himself is that he's got unfinished business here at Collins Hill," Wells said. "He feels like he and his senior class, and that junior class, they're hungry for more."
To Perkins and Collins Hill, more means bettering the Eagles' 8-3 seasons from a year ago, returning to the Class AAAAA for the seventh time in the last 10 years, and perhaps challenging for the Region 8-AAAAA championship and moving past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
"I want to help take this team as far as it can go," Perkins said. "It's going to be a good (season). We've got a lot of experience back on both sides of the ball. I think we have a shot to win region and go deep in the playoffs."
SideBar: The Perkins File
Who: Charles Perkins
School: Collins Hill
n Position: Running Back
Size: 6-1, 205
College choice: Georgia Tech
Other Division I-A offers: Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Central Florida, N.C. State, Virginia Tech
· Set a school weight class and overall record with a 310-pound squat lift this summer
· Rushed for 1,247 yards (third in Gwinnett among all returning running backs) with 10 touchdowns and caught 14 passes for 188 yards and a TD last season
· Plans on majoring in Management at Tech
How big of a factor was Georgia Tech's option offense in your decision to commit there?: "I love (Tech's) offense. They run the ball. I'm a running back. It's what I like to do."
Coach Billy Wells' comment: "Probably the biggest thing that Charles says for himself is that he's got unfinished business here at Collins Hill. He feels like he and his senior class, and that junior class, they're hungry for more."