Skip to main content

LB Harold Perkins Recaps 'Down to Earth' Official Florida Gators Visit

Texas A&M linebacker pledge Harold Perkins breaks down his official visit to Florida.

Photo: Harold Perkins; Credit: Brandon Carroll

Although he is publicly committed to Texas A&M, Cypress Park (Texas) linebacker Harold Perkins is one of if not the top prospect in the nation who has yet to sign his national letter of intent. Meaning, in a sense, the No. 3 linebacker in the land per Sports Illustrated All-American is still available on the recruiting market.

Given the nature of recruitment at this time, Perkins is utilizing the final month of the 2022 cycle to take official visits and see what other schools have to offer, wondering if those programs can match or even exceed what lured him into the Aggies' recruiting class. 

Perkins' first post-commitment trip after pledging in early January was to the University of Florida this past weekend, where he was able to meet with head coach Billy Napier and the Gators' new coaching staff.

"It was fun, it was exciting," Perkins told media after his official visit on Sunday. "I feel like the new staff is bringing new things in and I'm liking it. I like that [they're] spending more money on the players and stuff, and investing in the players. Because at the end of the day, we're the brand."

Recruited to UF by Napier and his assistants as well as former head coach Dan Mullen and his coaching staff, Perkins has gotten the gist of what Florida has to offer from different perspectives. Under Napier's watch, the support staff and program funding have both been expanded, which caught Perkins' eye as he toured the campus for the first time.

So did Florida's in-the-works, standalone football training facility, which is set to open this year and provide student-athletes with an upgraded training, nutritional and leisurely experience all in one.

"I was excited to see [the facility]," said Perkins. "I feel like them doing that, like I said, just taking care of the players is going to bring a lot of people down here.

"I don't want to say I was surprised, but I didn't expect a lot of this stuff," he continued. "I didn't expect to see a lot of the stuff I saw, right? I didn't know if I was going to like it or not, but I love it. It was legit."

Scroll to Continue

Read More

The highlight of Perkins' weekend was spending time with potential future Gators' teammates, including his player-host Trey Dean III, a good friend and fellow 2022 recruit Kamari Wilson, and other UF veterans. He enjoyed his time with the coaching staff as well, specifically interacting with Napier, co-defensive coordinator Patrick Toney, and linebackers analyst Jamar Chaney among countless other assistants.

Chaney, in particular, has a strong relationship with Perkins. When Perkins was originally offered by UF in April 2020, Chaney was a key communicator with the prospect before making the move to Mississippi State for a promotion. The two have remained in touch ever since, which could pay dividends for Florida now that Chaney has returned to Gainesville.

"Now that [Chaney is] back," Perkins said, "that's just icing on the cake."

Despite the staff being built brick-by-brick over the last month and with more hires to come, Perkins believes a family-oriented culture has already been established less than two months into the new era of Florida football.

"Coach Napier is a very down-to-earth person. I like the new staff. Even though they just got together, they act like they've been together for a while. It's not really a coaching staff, it's [like] a family," Perkins explained. "It's very down to earth. I like the people here, they show you a lot of love. 

"And then, not to mention, I always said I wanted to be like an X-factor. So, that's kind of how coach Napier sees me."

With two official visits at his disposal, Perkins intends to check out a couple more schools before February's national signing day. Dates have not been set yet, however, Perkins expressed an interest in making trips to Miami and LSU before finalizing his decision. 

Florida left a strong impression on Perkins as that decision inches closer. Even considering UF's new coaching staff was naturally late to enter the race for his services, Perkins believes Napier and Co. put their best foot forward over the weekend, making the Gators' a legitimate contender to receive his letter of intent even with his commitment to the Aggies in mind.

"At the end of the day," Perkins reckoned, "we'll see what's going to happen on February 2nd."

Stay tuned to AllGators for continuous coverage of Florida Gators football, basketball and recruiting. Follow along on social media at @SI_AllGators on Twitter and Florida Gators on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.