Illinois has come from nowhere as of late to surge into David Perkins’ top group, and the four-star athlete will now take an official visit to the Illini in two weeks.
Perkins (South Bend, Ind./Washington), who is being recruited as a running back at Illinois, will visit Champaign for three days during the week beginning Tuesday, Jan. 24. Perkins set up the visit when Illini coach Tim Beckman came through South Bend this week to speak with the former Notre Dame commit.
“That went really well,” Perkins said of the visit. “He came in and talked to me, and it was a real good talk. They expect the world of me.
“Position wise they are saying running back primarily, but it’s up to me whatever I want to play.”
Other programs, such as Ohio State, are recruiting Perkins as a linebacker, but most programs are willing to let the 6-foot-1, 210-pound two-way player pick between the backfield and linebacker. Perkins even said previously he has the ability to play safety.
“I’m a versatile player. I can play in just about any system whether it’s a power running game or zone blocking or whatever,” Perkins said. “My high school ran a zone blocking scheme, and I fit in perfectly with it.”
When Perkins leaves Illinois on Jan. 26, he will move right on to his next stop. Michigan State will host him for an official visit beginning Jan. 27.
Perkins originally was scheduled to visit Michigan State in December, but canceled that trip. He is now visiting the Spartans after canceling his Tennessee trip.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel also came in to see Perkins since the contact period began. The Tigers received an official visit in early December.
“They expect the world of me, too,” Perkins said. “They feel like I’m a player that can come in and instantly make an impact on the program.
“Position-wise I can play whatever I want to play.”
Syracuse is not a team Perkins has mentioned much over the last two months since decommitting from Notre Dame at the end of October, but Orange running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley stopped by to meet with Perkins this week, too.
The Orange and Perkins talk once a week, Perkins said.
“They’re one of the schools sticking around, because you never know what could happen with my visits,” he said.
Perkins said Wheatley told him some of the same things the other coaches have this week, but Wheatley went as far as to say Perkins could be one of the best recruits at Syracuse in a long time.
“He said I’d probably be one of the biggest picks up in decades,” Perkins said of his conversation with Wheatley. “They want me to come in and produce immediately and help me reach all my goals.”
Wheatley was a 10-year NFL veteran with the Giants and Raiders, and he rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2000 with Oakland. Wheatley is selling NFL coaching to Perkins in hopes of landing the third-best player in the state of Indiana.
“He said by coming there I’d definitely be getting some of the best coaching,” Perkins said. “I’d play in a system where I can leave college NFL ready.”
Perkins will also visit Ohio State on Jan. 13. He still has one official visit open and could take it Jan. 20 after canceling his LSU visit.