A couple more LSU Tigers receive recognition as linebackers Harold Perkins Jr. and Omar Speights were named to the Butkus Award watchlist. The announcement was made on Thursday.
The Tiger players are just two of 51 linebackers that were named to the list. The Butkus Award is given annually to college football’s best linebacker. LSU is one of seven programs in the country that have at least two linebackers on the list. The other schools include Michigan, Georgia, Clemson, Penn State, Ohio State, and Notre Dame. The last Tiger to win the award was Devin White back in 2018.
Perkins was a standout during his freshman year last year as he was named a freshman All-American and a first-team All-SEC selection. The New Orleans Native finished the season as the leader on the team in tackles for loss with 13 and sacks with seven and a half. He finished third on the team in tackles behind Micah Baskerville and Greg Penn III with 72.
For three weeks straight, Perkins was named SEC Player of the Week, all three weeks resulted in wins for the Tigers. It started when he was an SEC Freshman of the Week when he recorded six tackles, two quarterback hurries, and one sack in LSU’s 45-20 win over Ole Miss on October 22nd.
The following weeks were versus Alabama, where he had eight tackles, three quarterback hurries, one sack, and a pass defended. This led to a 32-31 overtime win over the Crimson Tide, for the first time since 2019. Next was LSU’s 13-10 win against Arkansas where Perkins went off with three sacks, two forced fumbles, and eight tackles. That performance against the Razorbacks helped name him the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week.
With all the success on the field in 2022, Perkins was recognized in the classroom as he earned SEC Academic Honor Roll status.
The other Tiger linebacker on the list is Omar Speights, who joined coach Brian Kelly’s program in the spring after he spent the previous four seasons with Oregon State. In his time as a Beaver, Speights was named to first-team All-PAC 12 honors in 2022 and was a freshman All-American in 2019.
The graduate transfer has racked up 308 career tackles, 25 tackles for loss to go along with five sacks and three interceptions. His best statistical season was in 2021 with 87 total tackles, one pass defended, and two interceptions.
LSU’s first opponent of the 2023 football season will be the Florida State Seminoles. The game will be played on Sunday, September 3rd at 6:30 p.m.