'Breakout!' ESPN Tabs Ole Miss LB Suntarine Perkins as Player to Watch in 2024

Ole Miss Rebels rising sophomore Suntarine Perkins could make a big impact on defense in 2024.
Ole Miss Rebels linebacker Suntarine Perkins (4)
Ole Miss Rebels linebacker Suntarine Perkins (4) / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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Ole Miss Rebels rising sophomore Suntarine Perkins could make a big impact on defense in 2024.


The Ole Miss Rebels are expected to field a team that challenges for the College Football Playoff this fall, and while many fans will look to the offense to create headlines, there is plenty of action to take notice of on defense, as well.

Enter linebacker Suntarine Perkins. With all the noise the Rebels have made in the transfer portal on the defensive side of the ball this offseason, a young returner like Perkins may not get all the hype he deserves entering his sophomore campaign, but he has not escaped the eye of ESPN.

In a recent story honoring "100 days to college football," the publication broke down a ton of top stories for the 2024 season, including first-time playoff contenders and Heisman candidates. Ole Miss found itself front-and-center in a few of these categories, but Perkins was tabbed as one of the 10 breakout players in college football.

You can view an excerpt from the piece below.

4. Suntarine Perkins, LB, Ole Miss: With Lane Kiffin at the helm, there is always plenty of buzz surrounding his team's offense, but Perkins is a talent on the defensive end ready for his close-up. In his freshman campaign, Perkins started only two games but finished with 38 total tackles (5.5 of those for loss) and 3.5 sacks. It was the ideal debut season for a player who will be crucial to the Rebels' defense this season.

According to reports in February, Perkins was charged with driving under the influence and careless driving late in the winter, but if that is behind him, his talent and production on the field cannot be ignored.

Perkins will likely be called upon more often in 2024. He may only be a sophomore this season, but he should provide a nice spark in the Rebels' front seven alongside fellow linebacker Pooh Paul and new additions up front, such as Walter Nolen and Princely Umanmielen.

Out of Raleigh (Miss.) High School, Perkins was listed as a unanimous four-star recruit, and he was clearly one of the top players in Mississippi and one of the top linebackers in the nation. In his school's state championship game in 2022, he tallied 32 carries as a running back, racking up 331 yards and four touchdowns alongside six tackles and an interception on defense.

Although he didn't make huge waves at Ole Miss as a freshman, it was a rather strong first campaign, especially when he tallied 2.5 TFLs and two sacks against the Alabama Crimson Tide early in the year.

Can Perkins build on his impressive debut season? His first 2024 task with the Rebels will come on Aug. 31 when they play host to the FCS Furman Paladins in Oxford.


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John Macon Gillespie

JOHN MACON GILLESPIE

John Macon Gillespie is the publisher of The Grove Report and has experience on the Ole Miss beat spanning five years.