BATON ROUGE — On Saturday, November 12th, Bertha Walton was in great pain.
Two days ago, she was in a terrible car accident, ugly enough to destroy the company’s car. That was what caused her pain. After more than a week, she still had muscle spasms “from the bottom like her chest to her side”. I had to go to urgent care for a stronger drug because my prescription couldn’t relieve the throbbing pain.
She could hardly move.
“She was in so much pain that she couldn’t sit down the next day and the day after that,” said her brother, Alvin Walton. “She went to see the doctor twice.”
But perhaps the worst part of it all was the timing. , was physically unable to go due to an accident.
Up until then, I was playing in every game.
“I put him at ease when I spoke to him[on the phone],” Bertha said. It’s okay. Play ball, you know, you can win this game.'”
Perkins himself had already dealt with a lot that morning. Perkins was under the same pressure as his teammates – trying to keep up with LSU’s winning streak and the momentum they had beaten Alabama the previous weekend – when Perkins caught the flu and vomited that morning.
“I didn’t know (that he was sick) until other people found out,” Bertha said.
But anyone who saw him that Saturday would have had no clue about it. led by 3 points with 6 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.
This performance put him firmly on the national radar and confirmed what many LSU fans already believed. That said, Perkins was LSU’s next defensive superstar in his own right.
Perkins finished his first regular season in college with 69 tackles and 7.5 sacks, finishing second on the team with 36 quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. Award finalist, AP First Team All-SEC Selection, College Football News First Team Freshman All-American, and SEC Coach’s All-SEC Second Team.
He has one game left as a freshman, as the No. 17 LSU will face Purdue in the Citrus Bowl on January 2 (12pm ABC).
“I know something a lot of people don’t know, so I’m not surprised. Everyone knows the sparkle, but I know the grind,” Alvin said. I’m talking about children. Every time he took a vacation, he gave it up. He used to exercise and prepare himself.
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To understand how Perkins became a superstar, we must first understand his family.
Resilience is the best way to describe them. Harold’s grandfather, Alvin Walton Sr., was a Marine who fought in Vietnam and raised his children “wildly.” Uncle Alvin has been a police officer in New Orleans for almost his 26 years.
While Harold was growing up, Bertha worked 16-hour shifts as a certified nursing assistant. When she got home, Harold had already cooked a meal, often ready for the next day’s work clothes. She taught Harold to cook when he was seven years old.
“He could cook anything,” said Bertha.
Whenever adversity struck, the family bounced back. When Hurricane Katrina hit, Bertha moved with her family to Houston. But not long afterward, Harold’s older brothers Benjamin and Corey returned to New Orleans to live with their grandparents. Harold was forced to grow up rapidly, especially since his older sister Kimeka had a history of seizures.
“She would have had these little voids,” Bertha said. “So Harold would be in charge.”
The family has survived everything, including the ups and downs. When Harold’s family attends his matches, it’s not his twos or his group of threes. It’s a party of at least 10 people.He’s always been close with his mother, brothers, and especially Uncle Alvin.
It’s not easy to see where Perkins’ global athletic prowess comes from. The family is all about sports, but no one came close to playing a sport on his Power-5 at college level before Harold.
“We have a lot of great athletes in our family, boys and men…played high school ball and were dominant,” said Uncle Alvin. “But they took a different path. Once they reached a certain age, they took a different path. Instead of staying focused, instead of staying in line… they were on the wrong side.” went.
“Harold didn’t go on the wrong side. He stayed on the right side.”
But without the resilience and support of his family, Harold wouldn’t be the star he is today.
That’s how you corner a quarterback in the freezing cold of Fayetteville after throwing up hours ago. That’s why he tenaciously played the game of his life through his emotions when he learned his mother had been in a serious car accident.
“I always tell my kids… take the situation and make the best of it,” Bertha said. ) you can take a situation and turn it into something good or positive, it’s the best and unique thing you’ll ever do in your life.”
Koki Riley covers LSU sports on The Daily Advertiser and USA TODAY Sports South Region. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @KokiRiley on Twitter.