Ole Miss commit Suntarine Perkins leads Raleigh to state championship
OXFORD, Miss. — December is here, and that means recruiting is hitting a fever pitch as the first window of the transfer portal opens Monday, December 5 and early signing day follows on December 21. It also means it’s time for high school playoffs and title games.
On Friday, Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin made his way through the gates at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg to watch Ole Miss commit Suntarine Perkins in the 2022 Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A championship game that featured Raleigh vs. Noxubee County.
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) December 2, 2022
As is always the case with high-profile recruits, especially one with Perkins’ athletic ability, it is no surprise that another high-profile coach was in attendance in addition to Coach Kiffin. Alabama defensive coordinator Pete Golding was also on hand, as the Tide hopes to flip Perkins to Tuscaloosa.
What a game it was as Perkins’ Raleigh team outlasted Noxubee, 55-52, to win the Lions’ first-ever state title. The last time Raleigh found itself in the title game came 27 years ago when they fell short in their bid to hoist the state championship trophy.
However, all that changed Friday and 4-star Perkins played a pivotal role in making that dream a reality.
“He makes this football team so much better. Our kids love him, and they love each other and trust each other. I think that was pretty evident today.”
Raleigh head coach Ryan Higdon
The game saw the most combined points in a MHSAA state championship since 1981 — and Perkins was a huge part of that barrage of points as he finished the final chapter in his high school career by recording 331 rushing yards on 32 carries, scoring four touchdowns, and notching an interception to lead his team to victory.
There is a reason why Perkins is the reigning Mr. Football for 3A football in the state.
His 74-yard rushing touchdown on the Lions’ first offensive play from scrimmage opened the game — and Perkins also kicked the PAT, the only time in the game that either team tried a kick for the conversion. He also caught three passes for 56 yards and tallied six tackles in addition to his critical interception.
In close, back-and-forth games like this, every play counts, and Perkins’ role on the Lions’ defense was critical.
Midway during the fourth quarter, Raleigh turned the ball over on downs, leading by just one point. The Lions needed a big play and Perkins provided it, intercepting Lions QB Kamario Taylor at the Tigers’ 23-yard line.
Ole Miss commit Suntarine Perkins drops into coverage and comes down with the potential game-winning INT in today’s state championship. Huge game from the top 100 prospect https://t.co/slJW6J6Vci pic.twitter.com/nwhOhyZE4J
— Charles Power (@CharlesPower) December 2, 2022
Perkins then promptly made a 16-yard touchdown run to secure the win.
Suntarine Perkins put Raleigh ahead 55-46 with his fourth TD run of the game.
He’s incredible pic.twitter.com/kekmsFFY7S
— Tyler Cleveland (@TylerCleveland) December 2, 2022
Mr. 3A Football Suntarine Perkins had quite the day doing it all on 32 carries for 331 yards and 4 TDs. Perkins also added an interception and 56 yards receiving being named the 3A Champion MVP. @suntarine @Raleigh_Lions pic.twitter.com/EbPN6mR9Is
— AustinL (@austinyuknow) December 2, 2022
— Kendall Duncan (@kendallduncanTV) December 2, 2022
Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good his love endures forever.
State champions 🏆 pic.twitter.com/75RKkHZeeU
— suntarine perkins (@suntarine) December 3, 2022
With the portal opening Monday and early signing day around the corner, stay tuned to The Rebel Walk for updates on Ole Miss recruiting as they happen. You can also follow me on Twitter: @MissKYUS2011.
(Feature image credit: Austin Frayser/Special to The Dispatch)
Lee Ann is the Director of Recruiting for The Rebel Walk. She is a veteran SEC sports journalist and NFL content writer. She is also the Sr. Editor for MESPORTS digital. Herring-Olvedo is a Brown University graduate who loves good cigars, good games, and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order.