Richardson (Texas) Lake Highlands coach Scott Smith knows talent when he sees it, and he sees a lot of it in his 6-foot-6, 305-pound right tackle Kent Perkins.
Perkins, the No. 81 overall prospect and No. 6 offensive tackle, has the size to be a bookend at the next level. But it's the other intangibles he brings that has Smith excited about Perkins' future as a Longhorn, and beyond, as it pertains to not only the game itself but life in general.
Smith spoke with HornsNation to talk about what he's seen from Perkins this season and what he expects he'll see from him at Texas:
HornsNation: Has Kent lived up to the expectations that were placed on him this season?
Scott Smith: I don't know if you can even put a value on what he has been able to do for our team this year. He is, in my opinion, one of the top offensive linemen in the country and he has done those things that you think one of the best offensive linemen in the country should do, whether it's dominating a defensive lineman or being the most physical kid on the field. Whatever those things might be, he has done it.
HN: What is the biggest thing he brings to your team?
Smith: The biggest thing he brings to our team that the majority of the people don't see is his leadership behind the scenes. He is such a great kid in the way that he conducts himself and the way he does things. He is not a big talker. He doesn't say much. But there are a bunch of kids that will rally right behind that big dog.
HN: Kent is a pretty reserved individual when you meet him. Is that him all the time?
Smith: That's just who he is. His mom has done a great job raising him. He's a very humble kid. Some kids in this process get lost in it and feel good about themselves. But throughout this whole thing he's been grounded because of what's at home. The way he has been taught and the examples he has seen at home. When the U.S. Army All-American Bowl came to do his jersey presentation he was one of the first kids that got presented. There was a big-time general who came in. It was a pretty big deal. I think he spent more time talking about his teammates and how big an impact they've had on him and how big an impact his mom and his grandmom have had on him as opposed to him being excited to play in the game.
HN: Is Kent still playing at right tackle for you?
Smith: He is still playing on the right side for us. In talking to Coach [Stacy] Searels down in Austin, I can see him being moved to the left side. If they have talked about it I am not a part of the discussion. They just wanted to know why we played them on the right as opposed to the left.
HN: Why keep him on the right side as opposed to the left, which is where you normally put your best tackle?
Smith: More than anything, from our standpoint it is a level of comfortableness with him being on the right side because that's where he has always been. As he grew up in our program we always had a kid that was on the left that we felt pretty good about. So when he moved up we weren't going to take away what we knew we already had on the left so we put him on the right because we feel pretty good about him being on the right.
HN: What is one thing about Kent that will really surprise some people when he gets to Austin?
Smith: I think one of the things that you don't get until you sit down and talk with him, Kent is a highly intelligent kid when it comes to football. From a football smarts standpoint he is on top of it. He has had four years or working diligently studying film, breaking down opponents and what they do. He is a pretty intelligent kid. I think that is a pretty big surprise for most people.
HN: Kent is someone who took up wrestling as a junior to improve his feet. How are his feet, which are so vital to a lineman's success?
Smith: Oh, from a physical attribute standpoint, if you are looking at one thing that sets him apart, he has some of the best feet around. Obviously being 6-6 and 305 pounds, that is pretty impressive. His footwork is such that sometimes you are in amazement at what he does because we move him a bunch. In most of our blocking schemes he is out in open space. It's fun to watch. It's one of those attributes that if you are big and you've got it, it makes you very marketable, and he's got it.