- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series takes a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from him. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.
No. 76 Kent Perkins
Sophomore offensive guard
Recruitment rewind: Perkins committed just days after landing his Texas offer and chose the Longhorns after junior day visits to Texas A&M and Oklahoma. The ESPN 300 lineman from Lake Highlands High near Dallas was the first of five offensive line pledges and a three-year starter at tackle in high school. In Perkins, Texas signed the No. 1 offensive tackle in the state and No. 4 nationally.
Career so far: Perkins was one of only three Texas true freshmen who played in 2013, along with Tyrone Swoopes and Jacorey Warrick. He earned his first career start at right tackle against Texas Tech and played in five more games, typically as the backup to Kennedy Estelle. When Josh Cochran was essentially lost for the season, Perkins stepped up and chipped in when needed. He suffered a minor knee injury that shut him down for more than two weeks of spring ball and the spring game.
Best-case scenario for 2014: Perkins breaks into a starting role at right guard or right tackle. What makes him so valuable to the Texas offensive line is his ability to play inside or outside, along with the size (6-foot-5, 325 pounds) and power you would want. Once he gets healthy, he's going to challenge for a major role somewhere on Joe Wickline's offensive line.
Worst-case scenario for 2014: No downside here. If for some reason Perkins isn't a starter for the opener, he'd still be one of the first linemen off the bench and would help keep the rest of the line fresh. Texas needs depth and options, something it hasn't had much of in recent seasons, and Perkins is going to help no matter what he's asked to do.
Future expectations: Perkins has the look of a potential three-year starter and a future pro if he stays healthy and on the right course. Wickline loves to cross-train his big men at every position on the line, and Perkins is the perfect kind of player who will fit wherever needed. The competition will be stiff at right guard, but he can win that job, or challenge Estelle at tackle. Either way, you're going to see a lot of him in 2014 and beyond.