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Bryce Perkins Has A Lot to Offer

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Bryce Perkins has earned a place in the Virginia record books. He has also earned an opportunity at the next level.

Quarterback Bryce Perkins just finished one of the great careers in Virginia history. Over the last two seasons, he helped the Cavaliers win 17 total games, advance to the ACC Championship Game, Orange Bowl, win the Belk Bowl and snap a lengthy losing streak against archrival Virginia Tech, compiling 7,919 total yards and scoring 67 total touchdowns along the way. As a senior, Perkins, among other distinctions, received second-team All-ACC honors and was named a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. 

Perkins has earned a place in the Virginia record books. He has also earned an opportunity at the next level. 

With the NFL Draft approaching, Perkins is a prospect worthy of more attention. At 6'3'', 215 pounds with a track record of achievement and versatility, the former Arizona State-transfer has a unique mix of both potential production. Perkins, beyond merely his statistical measures, is a noted leader, elevated the status quo of his program and has the multi-faceted abilities that modern professional offenses crave. Representing Virginia at the ACC Kickoff prior to his senior season, Perkins is calm and comfortable in the spotlight. He is a standard-setter.  

Above all else, everywhere Perkins has gone he has won; he took Chandler High School to an Arizona state championship in 2014, Arizona Western Community College to the NJCAA national championship game in 2017 and Virginia to the ACC Championship Game in 2019. Bright lights has been where Perkins has been at his best. 

Over Perkins' two seasons at Virginia, he completed nearly 65% of his passes for 6,218 yards, with 47 touchdowns compared to just 21 interceptions. Furthermore, he rushed for 1,692 yards and 20 more scores. Perkins set the Cavaliers' total offense record in 2018, then broke and reset his own mark in 2019, among others. As a senior, Perkins and Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts were the only players in the country with over 3,000 passing yards and 700 rushing yards; as a junior, he and Oklahoma's Kyler Murray were the lone players with 2,600 passing yards and 900 rushing yards.

Perkins, for further frame of reference, just became one of a dozen players this millennium with 3,500 passing yards, 64% completions and eleven rushing touchdowns in a single season; the year prior, he became the ninth quarterback the last 20 years with 64% passing, 25 passing scores and 900 rushing yards in a season. Of the ten Power Five signal callers on those two combined lists, seven of them, Pat Mahomes, Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, Kyler Murray, Cam Newton, Deshaun Watson and Vince Young,  were first round NFL Draft picks. Clearly, there is a precedent for Perkins' production.

The finish to Perkins' junior season was a springboard into a banner senior year. He led Virginia to a 28-0 shutout victory over South Carolina in the Belk Bowl, throwing three touchdown passes in the triumph. From there, Perkins and the Cavaliers opened 2019 with four consecutive wins. A thrilling 4-0 November which featured signature showings against division foes North Carolina and Virginia Tech, clinched Virginia its first-ever appearance in the ACC Championship Game.

Though Perkins turned heads with 378 passing yards, 112 rushing yards and five total touchdowns in a dramatic finish in Chapel Hill, the circumstances surrounding his efforts against the rival Hokies made it a performance for the ages. With the division championship on the line, not to mention a 15-game losing streak in the series, Perkins rallied Virginia to victory. He threw for 311 yards and a score, ran for 164 yards and two more touchdowns, pacing the Cavaliers in a high-scoring slugfest. He efforts, with Virginia winning nine games in the regular season for the eighth time ever, came with an exclamation point. 

Perkins' Cavaliers would go on to play in the ACC Championship Game against defending national champion Clemson, where he threw two touchdown passes, and an Orange Bowl matchup with Florida, where he threw for 323 yards and four more scores. On the big stage, facing two top seven defenses nationally, Perkins continued to impress. He and North Carolina's Sam Howell were the only two quarterbacks to throw a pair of touchdown passes against the Tigers, while Perkins became the first signal caller to complete four touchdown passes against the Gators in over three full years.

Spotlight success, mind you, was nothing new for Perkins; his quarterback rating numbers his senior season were considerably higher against ranked and winning teams. Paired off against Florida, especially, Perkins looked the part of a highly-regarded professional prospect. It was a fitting end to an amateur legacy ready for the next page.

While Perkins definitely has a storybook college career, he also has the framework for more to come. All that Perkins did at Virginia is worth celebrating, but worth further evaluating as well. Simply put, he checks off almost all of the boxes on paper and has credentials that compare favorably to many of the quarterback prospects in the 2020 draft class. There is, without question, value here.  

If Perkins is a sleeper, might it be because we haven't been paying enough attention?

Projecting prospects to the next level, especially at quarterback, is undoubtedly difficult. That said, parts of Perkins' profile meet the prototype. He is big and athletic, efficient and proven. Perkins, as his tape will show, is a winner. For a player with quite the resume, a chance just might be all he needs.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports