In the first two games this season, the 6-1, 211-pound linebacker had a team-leading 25 tackles – 14 solo – for the 2-1 Panthers.
“I love to hit—period,” Atkinson said.
“I’m proud of the fact that he has been more of a vocal leader on and off the field,” Langston Hughes coach Willie Cannon said. “He is a player who is going to get better every week because he works for it.”
Atkinson, who plays alongside other talented defensive players such as junior D’Andre Walker and senior Khalil Gray, said his offseason training was all about increasing speed, strength and agility, and being able to cover running backs on pass plays.
“I want to make First Team All-Region again and we want to go to the Dome--that is everybody’s vision,” Atkinson said.
Atkinson is also a big fan of the San Francisco 49ers’ Patrick Willis and recently retired Ray Lewis.
“They just look like they just come to work,” Atkinson said. “They are fundamental. They do what they need to do to be great.”
Also a member of the basketball and track teams, Atkinson would like to major in engineering while playing football in college.
“I’m real good at math,” he said.