June 8, 2011 // Recruiting

David Perkins Picks Notre Dame

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David Perkins, a versatile local product from South Bend, became the 10th verbal commitment in Notre Dame’s recruiting class of 2012 on Tuesday when he selected the Irish over the likes of Tennessee, Iowa, and Michigan State.

Despite being just a few miles down the road from Notre Dame, Perkins was not always at the top of the Irish coaching staff’s radar.  In fact, it wasn’t until last week that Brian Kelly extended an offer to the the multi-talented prospect.  Once Perkins had that offer, however, it didn’t take him long to decide he would be staying close to home.

Part of the reason the Irish staff was slow to extend an offer stemmed from the fact that Perkins doesn’t have a clear cut position at the next level.  His athleticism is off the charts, but where he projects best at the next level is sure to be debated from now until Perkins reports to campus.  The Notre Dame staff has told Perkins they like him at running back and outside linebacker, but he could also project as a defensive back, wide receiver, or even a defensive end.

It may seem odd to see defensive end in that list of positions, but it was Perkins’ performance at a Nike camp in Columbus recently while lining up at defensive end that opened up a lot of coaches eyes.  Perkins was virtually unblockable at the camp from the same defensive end position he played for Washington High School last year.  His frame will likely make a move to defensive end at the college level unlikely, but the pass rushing skills he has shown makes it easy to see why the Irish coaches like him at outside linebacker in Notre Dame’s 3-4 defense.

Perkins performance on the field this past fall is another indication that he adds some serious pass rushing skills to this year’s class.  Perkins racked up 16 tackles for loss and 13 sacks while from his defensive end position.

Should Perkins end up at linebacker, he would be the first commitment at the position for Notre Dame this year and the first defensive commitment outside of the secondary in this year’s class.  Notre Dame’s other defensive commitments – Tee Shepard, Ronald Darby, CJ Prosise, and Nick Baratti – all reside in the defensive backfield.  After the haul Notre Dame had at both linebacker and defensive line, that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

Perkins’ will be coached again this year by a coach who knows a thing or two about playing in a 3-4 defense at Notre Dame.  Washington High is coached by former Notre Dame defense lineman Antwon Jones.  Jones, a member of the Fighting Irish from 1996-1999, told the South Bend Tribune that his prized pupil reminds him a lot of former Notre Dame outside backers Bert Berry and Kory Minor – fairly high praise considering Berry went on to have a standout NFL career.

While most of the early chatter about Perkins focuses on his potential on the defensive side of the ball, his skills as a running back shouldn’t be discounted.  During his junior season he gained 765 yards on the ground while carrying the football just 82 times.  Perkins also hauled in 12 passes for 176 yards and scored a combined seven touchdowns (3 rushing, 4 receiving). Given Notre Dame’s lack of depth at running back, it’s safe to say he’ll at least get a look at the position once he arrives on campus next summer.

The commitment of Perkins continues a trend in recruiting that has been prevalent since Brian Kelly took over at Notre Dame – versatility.  Perkins can play on either side of the ball and can play a number of positions on both sides.  That kind of versatility is something we have seen a lot of from recruits that Kelly and staff have targeted.  That philosophy should allow for Notre Dame to avoid some of the numbers crunches that plagued the Irish for years of recruiting classes that, while full of great prospects, had holes that forced young players into prominent roles before they may have been ready.

Comments to this Article

  • DocBinge79 commented on June 8th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Sounds like a young Jim Browner to me. Welcome aboard!

    [Reply]

  • JC commented on June 8th, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Kudos!

    [Reply]

  • spiceyirish commented on June 8th, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Remember the rumors of the Shamrock helmet that ND might wear against Michigan this fall? Well it looks like it will happen. I just visited Facebook and on Roby Toma’s page, he has the helmet in full bloom, authentic as anything.

    [Reply]

    Shazamrock replied on June 9th, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    spicey i,

    Haven’t heard that one before.
    There are many who view the gold ND helmet as sacred.
    Anything other than a small decal on the back such as the number of a decesed player or the American flag is normally frowned upon.
    Of course, if ND does wear a “Shamrock” helmet agianst Michigan, and they whallop the tar out of them, a new tradition may be born, if not, we will probably never hear of it agian.
    Sounds kind of like a gimmick which ND normally doesn’t go for.

    [Reply]

    NDforever replied on June 9th, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    It’s an old helmet. They’re not starting anything new. Both teams are wearing throwback uniforms.

    [Reply]

    spiceyirish replied on June 9th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Here is a link to what I saw Roby Toma show on his Facebook page:

    http://lockerz.com/s/105574618

    Someone had noted that this is photo-shopped, so the rumor isn’t 100% accurate yet to me. One thing I should note is that I was checking the comments made on Toma’s Facebook page. Manti Te’o was making comments on the shamrock helmet photo. He said (along with Toma) that they’re wearing throwback uniforms and helmets for the Michigan game. Te’o also responded to another friend on the page who was mad about ND going against tradition by saying that ND builds tradition by winning, not by what they wear on the field. Sounds like a guy who has his head on his shoulders.

    Shazamrock replied on June 10th, 2011 at 7:41 am

    That’s actually a really sharp looking helmet!
    While it’s not “hand” painted in the ND tradition, the metallic Gold with the green shamrock and face mask looks great.
    It will look even better raised in victory at the end of the game!

    [Reply]

    IrishChan replied on June 10th, 2011 at 8:43 am

    They used to wear them years ago as I understand…

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on June 9th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Shaz,

    I bought a collectible book a while back titled the “ND Football Archive.” Perhaps some of you are aware of the publication I’m talking about. (BTW: They have them for almost all the other big-name programs also.) It has tons of stories, pictures, and memorabilia inserted into the book. I recall seeing pictures from the late 50s or early 60s were ND had a green three-leaf clover painted on the side of the helmets. I also vaguely recall a really bad movie (I believe it starred Shirley MacClaine) from around that time which had as a story-line ND playing a football game in Saudi Arabia for some rich sheik. (Just found an SI link about this pic: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1076151/index.htm.) That fictional 1960s ND team in the movie also had a shamrock on their helmets. So I think that this may be a counter-throwback to UM’s retro uniforms. Bit of one-ups-man-ship it sounds like to me. Could be wrong, though.

    [Reply]

  • Shazamrock commented on June 10th, 2011 at 7:01 am

    I know that Oregon changes uniforms frequently,(seems to help in their recruiting) and saw Army in a camouflage uniform which was pretty cool.
    I guess if it is a one time deal (throw back uniform game) inspires the players, and the fans have fun with it, its a good thing.
    After all, part of college football should be about having some fun.
    Should be a hell of a game at the big house under the lights!

    [Reply]

  • IrishChan commented on June 10th, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I see that Kelly offered Barry Sanders Jr. I watched his highlight films on youtube and he seems legit. His speed and lateral movement appears fantastic. However, the competition he’s facing seems pretty poor. Very little speed and HORRIBLE tackling.

    All that said though… It seems that Barry Jr has some similarities to his daddy. He can start and stop….the start again at near full speed.

    What do you guys think?

    [Reply]

    DocBinge79 replied on June 10th, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I don’t think T. Boone Pickens will allow him to leave the state of Oklahoma.

    [Reply]

  • East Texas Irish commented on June 12th, 2011 at 2:02 am

    Can someone answer this for me? Why doesn’t Rivals.com have any stars on any of the Notre Dame players other than Darby, Decker, Greenbury and Shepard. Accourding to ESPN Perkins is a top 150 player in the USA but has NO stars by Rivals. I’m not star gazing, well just a little bit but it would be nice to see the stars next to the players names. All these kids have major programs after them so surely they deserve atleast 3 stars. I’m confident in Coach Kelly and his staff to get the most out of all these kids regardless if he’s ranked with no stars or 5 stars. You can have all the 5 & 4 stars but u still have to coach them up. Just look at the Texas Longhorns from last year. Total failure with the TOP kids from the state of Texas.

    GO IRISH!!!

    [Reply]

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