Louisville Football is blazing on the recruiting trail. Despite the challenges of recruiting in the age of COVID-19, they have managed to find a lot of success. The success continues with the commitment of 3 Star IL S Benjamin Perry.
Perry is a 6’3 190 lbs S from Chicago, IL. He chose the Cards over offers from Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue, Syracuse, Illinois, Indiana, Georgia Tech, and Iowa State, among many others. UofL Co-Defensive Coordinator and Outside Linebackers Coach Cort Dennison was the primary recruiter for Perry. Perry is the 12th ranked S in the nation and the 486th ranked prospect overall in the nation per 247sports composite rankings.
Perry’s highlights shows a player with versatility and high level talent. At 6’3 Perry is a big physical player. Perry played a stint at corner before moving to safety. Perry is what most would consider a ball hawk, the second ball hawk that has committed to Louisville in his class. I consider him a playmaker. At 6’3 with his ability to tackle and cover, Perry is physical as well and can help stop the run and blitz the QB. He can definitely be used at the line of scrimmage as an OLB. I can see him playing the (STAR/CARD) position…the same position Rodjay Burns currently plays.
Perry as a ballhawk is evident in many of the plays on his highlight reel. He is excellent and reading and reacting. He has a very quick first step when breaking on the ball that gives him that ability. While he can play one-on-one coverage against slot receivers and is good at pressing, Perry is at his best playing center field at S; reading the routes, the eyes of the QB, and getting interceptions or crushing receivers. Perry has soft hands and catches interceptions with them, not his body. If he wasn’t so good at playing defense, he could definitely be a playmaking receiver. However, his natural ability to see where a passing play is going, break on the route, and get interceptions is just special.
Obviously, he’s not going to intercept every pass. So, it’s a good thing that he can hit. Perry is a big hitter. From what I saw in the highlights, he’s always looking to pick the ball off and return it, but if he can’t get there in time, he’s there in plenty of time to hammer a receiver. He doesn’t miss tackles though trying to just hit with his shoulder. He wraps up with both arms at high speed. These are good, clean, devastating hits. He’s definitely not a finesse S. He’s an all-around S.
His ability to tackle, coupled with his ability to read and react, is something Perry uses to help his team stop the run and be used as a blitzer. He can do this from the S position, but will sometimes lineup on the line of scrimmage as an OLB. When on the line of scrimmage, his quick first step and burst allow him to come off the snap unopposed and wreck havoc in the backfield. He can make tackles for loss and can sack QBs. One highlight shows him flying off the edge and crushing a QB, forcing a fumble. It was fast and violent. When at S, it allows him to really see the entire offense and use his eyes to see what is happening. He’s very quick at diagnosing what’s happening and taking the appropriate action. He’s definitely a smart player.
Perry’s length is another physical trait that allows him to be such a good pass defender. His arms are long and he can go up and get the football. He can come in from the side and knock passes away or pick them off. He makes life hard on QBs because it will seem like a receiver is open, but if Perry is anywhere in his vicinity he’s not as open as they think.
Maybe the most impressive thing about Perry is his motor. When most guys might be out of a play, Perry never is. Every down he’s trying to do whatever he can to bring down a ball carrier, sack a QB, defend a pass, or pick it off. He is always around the ball whether it’s being passed or rushed. Sometimes a ballhawk isn’t just a guy who is picking off and defending passes, it’s a guy who is around the ball, wherever the opposing offense has it on nearly every play. Perry fits that description.
Louisville got themselves a versatile defender that can absolutely become a star. His size, physicality, his ability to read and react, his hitting and tackling, and his motor as high level talents. As mentioned above, he’s likely a guy who will play the Card position Rodjay Burns mans now; a hybrid OLB/S. It’s hard to really compare him to one former Card. He hits like Calvin Pryor, has the ballhawking ability of Gerod Holliman, and has the physical attributes of Josh Harvey-Clemons. Perry has All-ACC and star potential.
With Perry’s commitment, Louisville’s 2021 class stands at 6 commitments. It ranks 9th in the ACC and 48th overall in the country. To put that into perspective, last year’s class was ranked 42nd according to 247sports. Louisville continues to recruit really well in this tough time. That’s a testament to the staff and recruiting team.