VYPE Recruit Spotlight: Cypress Park's Perkins sees stock skyrocket with offers from LSU, Oklahoma, Alabama
HOUSTON – Cypress Park football has its first big-time recruit.
The infant football program just completed it second varsity season in 2019 – going 3-7 overall – and on it was sophomore Harold Perkins.
Perkins pops up all over the stat sheet for the Tigers. He passed the ball a few times, he rushed it 31 times for 268 yards and two scores. He even caught four passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. And even returned some kicks for a total of 550 all-purpose yards in 2019.
But it's the defensive prowess of the sophomore outside linebacker that has caught the attention of college recruiters.
Last year he finished with 46 tackles, four sacks, one interception, seven pass deflections, a fumble recovery and a blocked punt.
As the spring recruiting season emerged the offers started to come. Baylor was the first on March 26. Then Tulsa on April 2. Then the floodgates opened.
Since April 6, Perkins has received offers from USC, Arkansas, Texas, University of Houston, Oklahoma, SMU, defending National Champion-LSU, Texas A&M and most recently Alabama.
"Honestly it was a big surprise," Perkins said about his recruitment taking off via text. "I just remember talking with my 7-on-7 coach after working out and he was telling me to prepare for a big weekend after Texas offered me. Sure enough the next day it was like a movie."
The day he's referring to was Friday, April 10.
Perkins' phone was lighting up. Five Division I offers rolled in in the matter of hours – including two from teams that were in the College Football Playoff last year.
Houston, Oklahoma, LSU, SMU and Texas A&M all offered on that Friday, the day after the Texas Longhorns offer.
"It was definitely crazy," Perkins said. "I was excited about all of them, honestly. It felt really good to get the LSU offer just because I'm from New Orleans. But getting Texas A&M, OU, Texas, Houston, SMU and LSU all within 24 hours had me excited period."
Perkins' family moved to Houston when Hurricane Katrina hit in the early 2005.
Most of Perkins' family has moved back to New Orleans since then, but his decided to stay in Houston, which didn't set well with him at first.
"I was so upset, I hated being in Houston until coach Larry from Houston Defender Basketball got me more active," Perkins said. "It really allowed me to settle in and find things to love in Houston. It also allowed me to meet two of my best friends Donovan Green (Dickinson TE) and Jaiden Robertson (Dekaney).
"I thank coach Larry because I might not have met them or linked up with my coaches and teammate on my 7-on-7 team the Houston Storm. I'm just really thankful. Most people see Katrina as a tragedy, but I found some light within the storm."
As the offers have rolled in, Perkins says every college has talked to him about playing mostly outside linebacker. Alabama offered him as an athlete.
When talking with each coach, Perkins has a list of questions he asks.
The list ranges from 15 to 20 questions, including ones about what the team GPA is and what the percentage of students graduating from the program is.
"It lets them know I'm big on grades and can the school help in the process of me becoming a man and can you prepare me for the next level, whether it's football or not," Perkins said.
The recruiting attention on Perkins doesn't only help him in his future but can benefit his teammates as college recruiters come around to see him, they also see them and other athletes across all sports.
"It means a lot to me that I could be the first one out of all the great athletes at our school right now," Perkins said. "I honestly wouldn't be at this point without any of my teammates or coaches at Cy Park. I hope it opens the door for a lot more people, girls and boys included."
Fans got an early look at Westlake 2022 prospect Cade Klubnik during the 2019 Texas high school football season. The sophomore battled seniors Kirkland Michaux and Drew Willoughby in his team's quarterback race for a good portion of the season and performed well enough to be the position's starter favorite for the 2020 and 2021 campaigns.
"Me, Drew and Kirkland were battling it out the first six to seven games and it was all close every game it felt like," said Klubnik. "Honestly, the most important thing I learned was that every rep matters. You just can't have a bad rep because that'll become bad plays in games."
"While we were competing, it wasn't just in games, but in warm-ups in practice [and] in routes vs air," he continued. "Everything was a competition and everyday I had to walk out on the field and try to be better than those other guys. It was a lot of fun in the end, and also a lot of people would think [that] us three don't get along because we were competing. But, honestly we hung out a lot and were all really good friends."
Michaux eventually held the reins in the second half of 2019 and led Westlake to the season's UIL 6A Division II state championship, the program's best finish since the 1996 season, but Klubnik enjoyed the ride.
"I'll definitely remember most how we felt as a family after every game," said Klubnik. "Every player in there had worked their butt off, whether it was a starting four-star receiver or a practice squad player. We all were so happy and felt accomplished of what we had done and all celebrated together. It was an awesome feeling."
Since Klubnik made the most of his time on the field, the expected transition from Michaux and Willoughby to him should be an easy one. Westlake Nation is confident in his abilities because he made smart decisions in the 12 games he played last season by leading his teammates with a 76.8 completion percentage and also contributed touchdowns with his arm and legs.
"I would call myself a mobile quarterback to be honest," he said. "That's kinda what I've always told people when they ask me."
"I'm a throw-first kinda [guy] when I scramble but, [if] I see nothing open, I'm taking off and trying to score with my legs or at least get a first down," he continued. "I think that helps a lot with our offense because we have such great receivers and running backs that when I pass it, I know they are gonna get it and my O-Line will give me the time to do so. But, when we wanna run the ball, we have got two outstanding running backs that are just crazy good. So, I think when we put it all together, I'm gonna be the guy who throws it, but when there's those opportunities that I can go split one for 70 yards, I'm gonna take it."
Because of his versatility and progress as an athlete, Klubnik is starting to get noticed. One example is the fact that 247Sports recognizes him as an athlete to watch in the 2022 recruiting race. The company currently ranks him as the 241st prospect and ninth-best pro-style quarterback in the country and number 29 athlete in Texas.
"I was honestly a bit surprised," he said. "But, very happy at the same time. I was little worried at the end of the season with not getting to play a lot in the playoffs and I was really just focused on next season. But, I had a solid film and enough good plays to help me get setup with recruiting. And I think when I played a lot during the regular [season], I did good enough to catch some eyes. So, I was really excited to see that I was a top 10 [player]. I mean what an honor."
College football programs have also liked what they've seen, so he has some great early offers to choose from. That currently includes Power Five members Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor and Virginia Tech and in-state Group of Five programs SMU and Texas State.
"It's nice to have offers," he said. "And I think they just happen to come and once one comes, more come and it's nice to have options for when the day comes that I get to choose where to play college football one day. But right now, colleges aren't my top priority to be honest. I keep in touch with all of them and I keep relationships, but at the end of the day I'm still playing high school football and I've got one job right now and that's to go 16-0 next year. So, me and my teammates are working...everyday. And right now, all my options are open. No schools are above or below any others."
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