Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Collins Hill's Charles Perkins, who will continue his football career at Georgia Tech, is the Gwinnett Daily Post's Offensive Player of the Year.
It didn't matter if it was going through tackling drills, catching punts or running the scout team offense, Charles Perkins just wanted to play football.
But when it came to Collins Hill practices, the senior running back was limited in what he was allowed to do.
"I try to get in everything, skelley, hitting drills, they won't let me," said Perkins, the Daily Post's Offensive Player of the Year. "They let me go one drill, I think it was the first practice of the season, and I ran two people over and Coach (Billy) Wells called me over and that was it for that"
While many high-profile running backs would be fine with sitting out tackling drills or running the scout team, that wasn't for Perkins. He still tried to slip into a drill a time or two.
"By the end it got kind of comical because he would run out there and we would run him off," Wells said with a laugh.
But that's just Charles Perkins. He loves to be first, he wants to be the best and he'll put in the work to achieve that goal.
Perkins was the first commitment for Georgia Tech's recruiting class this year. He will graduate high school before many of his peers, and he's the school's all-time leading rusher.
"I've just never been satisfied with anything," Perkins said. "I want to be the best at everything I do. Even if I do good, there's still places I can get better in and improve. I think my dad set that foundation to work harder than everybody."
It was evident Perkins had the physical abilities to be a big-time running back as a sophomore. He rushed for 803 yards and 10 TDs that season, but Perkins credits running track and his dedication in the weight room for helping him to become an elite player. He holds the school power clean record of 315 pounds and admits the running workouts set up by track coach Richard Ramsey were some of the most challenging for him.
"He works you every day," Perkins said. "I can't even count how many times I threw up in practice. It was bad."
Perkins was a three-year starter for the Eagles, leading the team to back-to-back playoff berths. He rushed for 1,646 yards this season, the second most in the county, and had 21 rushing touchdowns. It's impressive numbers considering Perkins was the bulk of the Eagles' offense and defenses knew he was getting the ball almost every play.
"I could have done a lot better, honestly," Perkins said. "Certain games you can do different things. I'm never satisfied, honestly. If I would have rushed for 2,500, I would have wanted 3,000."
His biggest game came in the season opener when he rushed for 302 yards against Parkview and scored the winning touchdown in the final minutes.
"To rush for over 300 yards against a quality program like that, to start your season, that's what high school movies are made of," Wells said.
Perkins finished his career with 3,590 yards on 614 carries with 40 rushing touchdowns. All three are school records.
"Charles has really been an anchor for our program," Wells said. "He's such a high character kid, great for the kids around him. Has been real solid all yearlong. Athletically, to rush for 1,700 yards, break numerous records for our school, has just been an outstanding athlete. If you had a kid to represent your program well, he was it."
Perkins graduated from Collins Hill this semester to get a jump start on his career at Georgia Tech. The ACC champions have relied on an effective running game the last two years, which should fit nicely with Perkins.
"They run the ball and I love to run the ball," Perkins said. "I just want to have a great career, break some rushing records, live up to my potential."