One of the most productive running backs in Mississippi high school football has verbally committed to Mississippi State.
Walnut tailback Shaquille Perry accepted the offer from the Bulldogs coaching staff Wednesday after leading the entire state of Mississippi in rushing yards and touchdowns this past season.
Timmy Moore, Perry’s high school coach said Perry is the third player from that high school to sign with a Southeastern Conference school.
“It’s huge because word is already starting to get passed around today about it and everybody here roots for Shaquille,” Moore said. “He’s the most talented player I’ve ever coached in my entire life.”
Perry is the 23rd commitment for the Bulldogs 2011 recruiting class before National Signing Day on February 2.
Due to Perry not having the academic numbers to qualify for Mississippi State next fall, the plan for the 6-foot-3, 213-pound athlete is to enroll at Northeast Mississippi Community College and then enroll on the Starkville campus in the 2013 spring semester.
Under NCAA rules, if the student-athlete is classified as a non-qualifier then he must graduate from the junior college before he can enroll at a four-year institution.
Once Perry enrolls in the junior college, he is allowed to sign with whatever school he chooses once he gets his associates degree. However if he signs a National Letter of Intent on Feb. 2 with Mississippi State University, the Bulldogs program is the only school allowed to have physical contact with him while he’s at Northeast Mississippi Community College. Other schools are allowed to talk to him via phone,
text message and can have physical contact with his junior college coaches.
Perry, who also played safety at the Class 2A high school, easily had the most impressive numbers in the state of Mississippi last year while running for 2,188 yards and 37 touchdowns as he led the Wildcats to the first round of the playoffs.
In a first round playoff game at Eupora, Perry (who at that time had contact from Southern Miss, Memphis and South Alabama) finished his high school career with a game-high 135 yards on 23 carries and the Wildcats only two touchdowns of the night in a 26-13 loss.
“It has always been my philosophy – if you’re a D-I guy (then) he’s going to find ways to get into the end zone,” Eupora head coach Junior Graham said after the win. “Physically that guy is a player now.”
Perry, who also had 311 receiving yards and three touchdown catches, was used out of a traditional I-back set but also got some touches frequently in the Wildcats’ offense out of a wildcat formation as well. Perry had a total of 42 total touchdowns (rushing, receiving, returns) during his 2010 season at Walnut.
“He’s a traditional I-formation tailback that is powerful and can take it the distance from anywhere on the field,” Moore said. “We started doing that wildcat stuff his junior year just to get him to touch the football on the start of the play. Between rushing, receiving and returning, he had 42 total touchdowns this season so when he got it – it usually worked out well.”