AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 10: Running back LaDarius Perkins #27 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs runs for a touchdown against Auburn in the first quarter on September 10, 2011 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
100 Days of MSU Football - Day 27
Today we take a look at #27 on the 2012 edition of the MSU football team, LaDarius Perkins.
LaDarius, a 5'10', 190 lb Junior from Greenville, Mississippi, will get his first chance since he arrived at Mississippi State to be the leader at the running back position this fall. In 2010 and 2011 Perkins was the 2 to the 1 of Vick Ballard in the 1-2 punch of the Mississippi State backfield. In his redshirt-freshman season, LaDarius had a major immediate impact, tallying 566 rushing yards, 247 receiving yards (on 9 catches!) and six scores: three each on the ground and through the air. Last season in 2011, again serving as the more finesse back in State's stable of RB's, Perkins' numbers were a bit down, adding 422 yards and 2 TD's rushing, and another 2 TD's receiving as well.
Can Perkins shoulder the load as the main option in the backfield for State this fall? He will most likely share carries with up and coming Sophomore Nick Griffin, and it will be hard to keep Derrick Milton and Josh Robinson off the field as well. Any way you cut it though, a healthy Perkins will be the main option in the backfield, and it will be interesting to see how he transitions to being the main man.
My take? I think LaDarius shines this year, having a season along the lines of what he accomplished in 2010, but with even more elevated final numbers. Don't be surprised if Perkins accumulates double digit TD's, and I certainly wouldn't be surprised if he flirts with 1,600-1,800 total yards in 2012 - being a threat on the ground, in the air and returning. You may not see LaDarius register the much desired 1,000 yards rushing that a RB often strives for due to the presence of other talented backs such as Griffin, but one thing is for sure, Perkins and his lightning-quick speed are destined to shine this fall.