“Growing up in South Jersey, it was only right I became an Eagles fan. Seeing the passion of those fans was definitely something I’ve admired. That played a part in what I was looking for as far as a college atmosphere. Philadelphia fans are known to be electrifying.”
Isiah Perkins, a cornerback out of small town in South Jersey, began his journey to the NFL early. Being in a family that bled football, the 2015 graduate had dreams of playing in the NFL since day one.
“I started playing football at the age of five,” Perkins mentioned. “Growing up I played three sports: football, basketball, and baseball. My dad played college football at Cheyney University in Pennsylvania, so I always had a passion for the game. I knew going into high school that if I stayed focused, I could really elevate my game and play at the division one level.”
Growing up in Williamstown, New Jersey, Perkins was a die-hard Eagles fan. Williamstown football, a team that has grown to be a south jersey powerhouse, breeds division one and NFL caliber players.
Most recently, Julian Taylor, a defensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers, contributed in a Super Bowl run with the Niners. After contributing to a state championship his freshman year, Perkins tells how he knew football was his calling and credits this to the program run by Frank Fucetola:
“Williamstown is a great town to grow up in. The town support has always been amazing. When I played at Williamstown it was an atmosphere that prepared me to play at the next level. At Williamstown, the program is run just like a college program, so I came into college knowing what to expect. Our practice schedule, weight room schedule, film schedule was similar to college so it was a smooth transition when it came to football. The fans in Williamstown are supportive as well, nearly every game is a packed house. I would not change my experience at WHS for anything.”
Prior to committing to a college, Perkins was lighting up the high school football scoreboards. The senior captain rushed for 906 yards as a quarterback and set Williamstown High School record for consecutive 100-yard rushing games in 2014. As a defensive back, he registered four interceptions, 30-plus tackles, and four pass breakups. These numbers earned him All-Conference, All-County, and All-State honors, as well as the New Jersey Mini-Maxwell Award and Brooks-Irvine Award.
His impeccable high school years brought him mass attention, and a plethora of division one offers. It took until his senior year for him to make a decision that he felt best suited him, however, he committed to the University of New Hampshire after much deliberation.
“I chose UNH because of the people!” Perkins happily noted. “The people at UNH are very welcoming and I got that same vibe when I visited the school on my official visit. When I was researching the school, I liked how UNH played in the CAA conference, meaning I would play great competition each week. I knew going to UNH, I was able to play under Coach McDonnell, who will be a hall of fame coach one day. Between the great coaching staff they had and the competitive nature, UNH makes the playoffs year after year, and I would fit right in.”
Off the field, however, Perkins devoted a lot of time to his education. In high school, he was an honor roll recipient and continued that passion into college. While maintaining his starting role with the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, Perkins is on his way to earning his Master’s degree in Business Administration. Following 2019, he had already earned his undergraduate degree in environmental & resource economics.
His passion to be the best man he can be, both on and off the field, has given him promise to fulfill his lifelong dream:
To play in the National Football League.
Becoming a Prospect
After redshirting his freshman season, Perkins came out hot in his first year. He recorded 30 total tackles, with a career-high 7 tackles in one game. Along with this came a total of 8 total pass breakups. This segued him into having a breakout year the next season.
In his second season, Perkins was a HERO Sports 2017 FCS Sophomore All-America Honorable Mention. While starting all 14 games for the Wildcats, he recorded 26 solo tackles and 16 assisted tackles, with a team-leading five interceptions, which ranked fourth in CAA. Along with this, he ranked second on the team in pass breakups (eight) with two tackles for loss.
Along with this, he showed his clutch factor. In back-to-back playoff games, Perkins recorded five tackles in consecutive road playoff games against Central Arkansas and South Dakota State. As many of his coaches had probably predicted all along, Perkins was something special.
You can see the rest of his college stats at https://unhwildcats.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=6165.
The 6’0, 198-pound cornerback from South Jersey suddenly was put onto the radar of professional scouts. However, for Perkins, this process has not been easy.
“This process for me has been different than others. Most athletes who train to go to the NFL get to go to warm weather places and train for months to prepare. For me, I had to finish my graduate degree which I will receive this upcoming summer. I had to drive an hour away from campus to Mike Boyle’s Strength and Performance about 4-5 times a week. There have been many long and tiring days between training, making sure I get the proper nutrition and finishing my graduate school work. I feel like the process I went through is a testimony to everything I learned at UNH about staying dedicated and working hard.”
And work hard, Perkins does. After pro days were forced to be virtual due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Perkins clocked some crazy numbers.
As shown in the Tweet, Perkins displays unreal speed and agility, which drew the attention of more NFL teams.
“It definitely was hard having no pro day. When you are training for the pro day, the training facilities try to time your “peak performance” with the date of your pro day. Since my pro day was canceled, I had to try to maintain my peak for two weeks. I had to wait until I was able to create my virtual pro day. Fortunately for me, I was able to train with my roommate Dayne and he helped me stay on top of my training, therefore I never dropped in peak times.”
Not only would a team be getting a gifted athlete, but they would also be getting a player who is educated. Not many players finish their degrees, and Perkins will be coming out with both an undergraduate and a graduate degree. His athletics and academics are only a glimpse of his character, as Perkins and his family are beloved around Williamstown as well.
To be short and sweet, any team taking the chance on Isiah would be getting an absolute steal. As shown in both his film and his character, Perkins devotes his heart to anything that he is doing. Whether it be football or in the classroom, this guy has gone above and beyond to flash his potential.
As he stated, he has received calls from teams already. This, of course, increased after he released his crazy pro day times. With the NFL draft around the corner, keep an eye out for Perkins’s named to be announced.
And who knows, maybe it’ll even be to his hometown team.