Miami LB Denzel Perryman elevating his play

Joel Auerbach

Perhaps the best player on Miami's defense the past three years, DP52 looks better than ever with the defensive unit as a whole improving dramatically in front of him.

As a true freshman in 2010 Denzel Perryman played beyond his years, in starting all 12 games and tallying 69 tackles, including 6.5 for loss.

As a sophomore, he battled through injuries to record 64 tackles in 9 games, and earn a spot on the ACC honorable mention team. This despite playing on one of the worst ranked defenses in the conference and the country.

Not a bad start to a career for most. But so much more was expected.

Now bulked up, able to take on bigger backs and offensive lineman, and in better shape then ever, Denzel Perryman looks unstoppable.

He is in great condition, he is 240 pounds and in great condition..... You can ask Denzel but the one thing that's different about Denzel Perryman right now are the habits he's forming every day. By how's he's finishing and how he's practicing, and it's carrying over to the game. - Al Golden

Perryman has 19 tackles through 2 games, including 14 solo stops.

DP was also named ACC Co Defensive and ACC LB of the week after tallying 13 stops, and forcing a fumble in Miami's monumental victory over the Gators. He finished one tackle shy of his career high 14 (Boston College 2010).

But if you watched the UF game, numbers did not do justice on how well Perryman played. At times he was the best player on the field, relentlessly stalking ball carries and making thudding tackle after tackle.

He was a man among boys.

His first quarter hit on Matt Jones that sent the football spattering 6 feet up in the air, set the tone for the entire game.

The improvement of the players around him, has played no small part in DP's astonishing start. But make no mistake about it, he is Miami's best defensive player.

Following in the footsteps of former great UM LBs like Ray Lewis, Jesse Armstead, Dan Morgan, Jonathan Vilma and Jon Beason among others, Perryman certainly has some high standards to uphold as the 'Canes defensive leader.

"What I call the 'Hurricane DNA' -- the speed, the toughness, the instincts, the commitment on being the best, the football smarts." - Michael Barrow, UM LBs Coach.

Perryman HAS that DNA. And if Miami's defense continues to play the way it has through the season's first two weeks, Perryman may end up yet as one of the greatest LBs to come through the U.

And that is no small accomplishment.

One more thing is apparent. If the 'Canes are going to stay in the forefront of College Football, the defense is going to have to continue to play at a high level.

No player will play a bigger part in that effort then Denzel Perryman.

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