- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
ESPN 150 offensive tackle Kent Perkins (Dallas/Lake Highlands) tried to lay low during his offseason. He attended few camps and combines. He didn’t need them.
Instead, the Texas offensive tackle commit dedicated his spring and summer to improving all facets of his game. That dedication has paid off so far in his senior season, as the team captain has helped lead Lake Highlands to a 2-1 start this year.
Following a dramatic 30-28 last-second victory over Rowlett on Friday, Perkins brought HornsNation up to speed on how he has improved as a lineman, what’s motivating him and how good it feels to be a future Longhorn.
HornsNation: How’s your senior season going so far?
Kent Perkins: It’s going real good. This is probably my best year. I love this team -- we grew up together so we know as a family we can really go far.
HN: What are you working on right now to improve your game?
Perkins: I personally want to improve on my technique, my footwork and my stance. My coach told me last year I used to give away the run in my stance because I used to lean forward, but now I don’t.
HN: You’re a guy who’s always been bigger than your competition. What motivated you to go get better in those areas?
Perkins: When I went to a top 100 camp this summer, everybody was real good. They had the best there, so you had to be on with perfect technique. My first go at it, the guy beat me inside because my technique wasn’t good.
HN: What was your goal after that camp experience?
Perkins: I need to get better. I want to be the best I can be.
HN: Does your game require a real mean streak?
Perkins: Oh, I think I have it. When I’m in my zone, I’m like a different person. Personally, if I’m going against a person who’s really aggressive, I just snap into it.
HN: What does being in that zone do for you?
Perkins: I’m more focused on when the ball is hiked and me getting out into my stance even quicker. I’m more focused on my hand placement and everything.
HN: What does it take to keep that mentality? Do you have to pick out a defensive end and decide you hate him?
Perkins: I don’t want to get my quarterbacks sacked at all. If my quarterback gets sacked, then I failed. I do all I can to be good on pass protection and make sure my guy doesn’t make the tackle.
HN: What has Texas told you about where they want you to play in college?
Perkins: They’ve said they want to start me at left tackle. In practice sometimes I’ll switch to left or they’ll even put me over there with the tight end so we have more bodies there, that’s mostly when we’re going to run the ball there. But I’m almost always at the right side.
HN: Do you see yourself as a better pass blocker than run blocker?
Perkins: I feel like I’m a good run blocker but I can be better at my point of attack. When we were watching film earlier, I noticed when I got off the ball I was too extended against my guy. That’s something I’m got to work on.
HN: Do you think you’ll attend any Texas games this season?
Perkins: I’m definitely going to the Oklahoma one. If I can make it down to any more, I’ll try to make it down.
HN: How does it feel to be a Longhorn and have that recruiting process out of the way?
Perkins: It feels awesome. I know there’s good people up there -- that’s the main reason I committed -- and I want to stay close to home. It feels real good that I don’t have to stress about it, I can focus on getting better. I’m a captain and it’s my job to get my team ready.
HN: Do you sense that being committed to Texas put a target on your back and makes those defensive linemen come after you even harder?
Perkins: I do. I won’t lie and say I don’t. But that just makes me have to be on my game even more, because there’s always someone who’s trying to beat you.
1dJake Trotter and Brandon Chatmon