Parkland Press

Sunday, June 7, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBColgate-bound Ja-Lon Perkins (left) prides himself on being coachable and working hard. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_ PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBColgate-bound Ja-Lon Perkins (left) prides himself on being coachable and working hard. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_

Trojans’ Perkins to play at Colgate

Thursday, May 21, 2020 by CJ HEMERLY Special to the Press in Sports

With high school seniors looking ahead to attending college and playing the sport of their choice in the fall, schools have exchanged their usual college announcement ceremonies for virtual versions.

Parkland last week released a list of 72 senior athletes who will move on to college programs.

One of those athletes is football player Ja-Lon Perkins, who signed his national letter of intent to continue his academic and football career at Colgate University.

“I chose Colgate for many reasons, mostly because I wanted to go to a school where I knew my education would be valued just as much as my football career,” said Perkins. “Colgate seemed to have the best balance between the two. Many schools either valued football over and education or vice versa. I also welcomed the challenge of the strength of schedule Colgate plays in, that even though I’m going to a smaller school, I would still get a chance to play big schools.

“Alumni networking is also great at Colgate. The graduates are more inclined to offer job opportunities, internships and things alike. I enjoyed the longevity that the coaching staff has in their tenures at the school as well as the location being not too far but not too close. When it came down to the wire I also considered Holy Cross, Army, Fordham, and Harvard.”

Perkins transferred from Dieruff High School following his sophomore year and the transition was a difficult one at first, but one that worked out for him in the end.

“Parkland is a lot different than Dieruff, not only educationally but demographically as well,” Perkins said. “It was a hard adjustment my junior year being so close to home but feeling so far away with how different things were for me. Thanks to my teammates at Parkland and the football coaching staff especially, coach Moncman, the transition went smoother having them as allies. Parkland classrooms get a lot different with the resources available such as chrome books and the software, as well as offering courses that weren’t previously available to me in the ASD. Parkland football really elevated my game and made the strongest parts of my game that I developed at Dieruff stronger, while also growing me as a player. I gained a lot in technique and my knowledge of football as a whole. Parkland also transformed my body in a way that put me in a position to play football at the next level.

“Basketball was a fun and new experience. It was a great time playing under coach [Andy] Stephens, who I have the utmost respect for as well as the rest of the coaching staff. It was also fun playing alongside teammates who for years had been on the other team.”

With the pandemic forcing people inside and gyms and training facilities closed at the moment, Perkins has had to work around that to remain fit for when he reports to campus this fall.

“I’ve been doing a lot of jump rope work and agility work while implementing a circuit-based full body workout given to me by the strength coach at Colgate,” said Perkins. “I’ve not only been tuning up physically but have been watching a lot of film of their games and just players at my position as a whole to get a jump on how I’ll fit into the system. I’ve had zoom meetings with my position coach just to touch base and to get a jump on training.”

Perkins was a force on the defensive line for the Trojans in his two years. While a transfer may come in and think he knows what he’s doing, Perkins was open to listening and learning from his new coaching staff and teammates. That surely benefited both parties.

“I think my best quality is that I know my role,” Perkins said. “I always understood my spot on the field and recognized that not every play was mine to make. Sometimes my job is to allow myself to be blocked to make way for a linebacker or to take myself out the play on the outside to make sure nothing comes back that way.

“I think a lot of young players get caught up in the hype or play for stats and glory instead of understanding the concept of team football. If you buy in and do your job to the best of your ability, then plays will come your way just as well as they will come for other people, and you should be just as happy for your teammates making plays as you are for yourself making plays. I also made it a point to always be coachable, understanding that even if something didn’t feel right to me or didn’t seem like it’s what I should be doing, my coach 9.9 times out of 10 knows better than me. They are wise enough to admit their mistake and fix it. So altogether what I bring is a player that will do everything he’s told 1,000 percent and do whatever it takes to win.”