The decision by the Texas Longhorns coaching staff not to redshirt freshman tackle Kent Perkins was made quickly -- he appeared in the opener against New Mexico State -- and now the former US Army All-American is making a serious push for playing time.
Listed as the first co-starter with sophomore Kennedy Estelle, who has ably replaced junior Josh Cochran as the starter at right tackle, Perkins drew a comparison to former standout Derrick Dockery from head coach Mack Brown, who cited good play from Perkins in practice and said that his upside is "unbelievable."
It's easy to look at the emergence of Perkins on the depth chart as a critical commentary on the recent play of Estelle, who has had some difficulties with opponents hitting him with inside moves and struggled some with speedy Oklahoma pass rusher Eric Striker, but for the most part Estelle has been a solid player and at no times has his play been as poor as Texas has received from senior guard Mason Walters and junior center Dominic Espinosa.
When viewed in that perspective and combined with the fact that Texas couldn't afford to miss on a high school player like Perkins because the scholarship chart is notably thin at offensive tackle with neither Camrhon Hughes or Garrett Greenlea currently looking like potential contributors (Greenlea is out this season for medical reasons), the strong practice play by Perkins is extremely positive for the Horns when looking forward multiple years down the line.
And the Horns could even get Cochran back for the first time since the Ole Miss game, as Brown indicated that he has been practicing.
Brown also said on Monday that freshman offensive lineman Darius James is now down to 310 pounds, which is down at least 20 from where he was at the start of 2013 when he did an adequate job of playing left tackle in the Under Armour All-American game. James may need to contribute next season as a back up or even as a starter if redshirt freshman Curtis Riser doesn't come on.