A Man Of His Word
Georgia Tech junior A-back Charles Perkins redefines the word commitment
Sep 4, 2013
By Wiley Ballard
Commitment is a powerful word for almost all college student-athletes, and most college students for that matter, but for Georgia Tech's Charles Perkins it has special meaning.
While countless players across the country threaten to transfer and even more high school stars use the term commitment without the slightest discretion, Perkins is beginning his fall 2013 semester as a newlywed.
Most of the Tech faithful know Perkins as a member of the A-back rotation with a balanced mix of strength, speed and agility. Only a select few know his more personal story.
Perkins' conviction in commitment dates back all the way to his junior year of high school. Not even a full three months removed from his breakout 1,300-yard rushing season that catapulted his recruiting stock, the Collins Hill star made a verbal commitment to the Flats.
And unlike seemingly almost every other early commit, Perkins never wavered in his decision. Not even when other schools of SEC and ACC pedigree approached the future Yellow Jacket. Amidst all of the press, Perkins explained the reasoning behind his steadfast approach in a 2009 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article. For Perkins it was as simple as believing in what then Tech running backs coach and present day Georgia Southern head coach, Jeff Monken, had told him during the recruitment process:
"He said, `When you're searching for a wife and you find the one you want to marry, you don't need to keep searching around or dating hundreds of others.' That really stuck with me. In other words, he was saying if you find the right college, there's no need to keep searching."
Hmm, perhaps we should keep that in mind.
Despite his early arrival, the Lawrenceville native didn't see the field until the 2011 season following a redshirt in 2010. Although he was unable to make an impact on the field, he did develop a special bond with fellow teammate Jeremiah Attaochu.
When asked about his friendship with the versatile defender, Perkins explains, "Jerry's like my brother. We think a lot alike and we go everywhere together."
The two spent so much time together during their freshmen year that they elected to live together as roommates during both their sophomore and junior years. Through their three seasons immersed in the football program and occasional trips to the basketball courts (where despite his self-proclaimed defensive prowess, Attaochu admits that Perkins is the better basketball player), the two developed an increasingly strong bond.
So when it came time for Charles to select his best man, Jeremiah was an easy choice. But what about the bride?
It was the spring of Charles' sophomore year when he, back in his home town of Lawrenceville, arrived at Chick-fil-A ready to place an order that he met Alexis who was working behind the counter.
While he denies that he gave her his number right there at the register, Perkins maintains that he tracked down her name and number shortly after. From then on, it just "felt right."
On the other hand, Attaochu was a bit more hesitant. "He'd dated a bunch of girls," he explains jokingly. However, his tone shifts from his trademark carefree charm into a sincere admiration as he adds, "but he was very sure of himself when they met and I had to respect that."
Then in the summer leading up to the 2012 season, Charles and Alexis got engaged.
When asked about his decision to get married with respect to his young age, Perkins echoed the same conviction and thought process that he displayed four years earlier as a high school junior: "I didn't see the point in waiting."
And while his teammates gave him his fair share of grief initially, Attaochu again explained that "nobody could shake or move him. He didn't really care. He knew what he wanted" and with the same reverence as he expressed before, Attaochu plainly stated, "you've got to respect that."
Following an abbreviated honeymoon (the real honeymoon will be taken on a West Caribbean cruise in January after football season), Charles headed back to campus with a new roommate for the first time in over two years. And what is the biggest difference about living in family housing with the new Mrs. Perkins?
"A lot cleaner. I don't want to throw Jerry under the bus, but I can see the floor now."
With the wedding over and the room a lot cleaner, Charles still had a lot on his plate. As if rehabbing from shoulder surgery, battling for a starting spot and getting married weren't enough, Charles also spent his summer acquiring valuable work experience in his summer internship. Not exactly taking the summer off.
Steadfast in his decisions by nature, Perkins reiterates that tying the knot was not an impulsive one: "I wouldn't have done it if it would have been tough. It's actually easier. She [Alexis] helps and encourages me. And she does the little things."
While Perkins knows the ring he put on his finger in May will be the most meaningful one of his life, he wouldn't mind picking up a complementing one of the ACC Championship variety. And with his shoulder feeling better than ever, the second ring might just become a reality in Charlotte this December.
A healthy Perkins wasted little time making his impact felt in 2013, scoring a touchdown and making a strong tackle on special teams in Tech's win over Elon.