The Miami Hurricanes have struggled in several areas this season. It’s natural for us fans to think about what players we would like to see solve these ills. Bryant McKinnie at left tackle, Phillip Buchanon at cornerback, or Charleston Rambo at wide receiver are obvious choices. What’s that? Charleston Rambo had one more year of eligibility left, yet went undrafted and is not currently on an NFL roster? Damnit.
While those names are more than legitimate, there is one former player I miss the most who would do wonders for the 2022 squad: Denzel Perryman. Perryman was an all-time middle linebacker for Miami from 2011-2014. He was a significant contributor as soon as he stepped on campus and continued to get better each season. Perryman finished his Miami career with back-to-back First-team All-ACC selections (2013, 2014) and his defensive stats are impressive to say the least: 351 solo tackles, 27 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, and 6 forced fumbles in 47 games. Also, he returned his one interception for a touchdown. Because of course he did.
Besides the numbers, Perryman was just plain fun to watch. He played incredibly fast, ran sideline to sideline chasing running backs and receivers, and looked like a missile when he blitzed up the middle. Denzel Perryman was a warrior. He also looked like a warrior, standing 5’11, weighing 240 lbs, covered in tattoos. The guy had to be intimidating for opposing skill position players, knowing they could get lit up on any play.
One of Perryman’s best moments as a Hurricane was a late-September home game against Duke in 2014, his senior season. The game was in hand for Miami; they were up 22-10 late in the fourth quarter. A pass gets deflected, then falls in and out of Perryman’s hands. He is immediately frustrated with himself and drops for ten push-ups. Loved it. The stupid ACC refs did not however, as they flagged him for unsportsmanlike conduct. No sweat. Four plays later, Perryman intercepted an overthrown pass on fourth down, ending the game. Seeing the entire sideline so fired up was truly awesome. Perryman led with emotion as much as he did with his play on the field.
Watching those videos was great. So, how would Denzel Perryman fit into this season’s Miami team? I would say rather easily. He would bring instant leadership, accountability, and most importantly, sound tackling to this struggling defense. Perryman would get the best out of his teammates, even Corey Flagg! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Putting aside the guys from the early 2000s Canes teams, Denzel Perryman was my favorite Miami defensive player to watch, ever. Even with the crap coaching of Al Golden and his defensive doofus, Mark D’Onofrio, I was always confident Perryman would stop the running back in the backfield, cause a turnover, or make a play on an important third down.
I loved Denzel Perryman at Miami. He was a great player. He was a great leader. He was an absolute beast. He was everything this year’s Miami Hurricanes team is missing.