At 6’1″ and 243 lbs, Miami Hurricane’s middle linebacker Denzel Perryman has established himself as one of the most ferocious hitters in college football over his four-year collegiate career. Currently ranked as the third best linebacker in this year’s draft, the former Miami captain amassed 110 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 interception during his senior season. With the New York Giants desperately in need of linebacker help, Perryman figures to be a strong candidate for the Giants to use a 2nd round draft choice on this spring.
Jack Aylmer (J.A.): How do you think your Senior Bowl performance affected your draft status?
Denzel Perryman (D.P.): Based on my first practice I heard from a lot of people I did well so I felt pretty good. I guess I opened the eyes of a lot of scouts and a lot of coaches because the next day in I had a lot of coaches come up to me and tell me I was one of the standout guys so I felt like it really brought my stock up a lot.
(J.A.): You’ve become infamous for the incredible hits people have seen on your YouTube videos, have you always been a big hitter?
(D.P.): Yeah, I mean, you could say that. Growing up I feel I’ve progressed every year hitting harder and harder.
(J.A.): Why did you decide to return to the University of Miami for your senior season?
(D.P.): Well, first off, I wanted to get my degree and I felt like I had things I still needed to work on. I didn’t want to be on the next level and still have to learn a lot of things so I decided to come back here and work on my game.
(J.A.): What do you think will be your biggest transition from college to the NFL?
(D.P.): I would say just the speed. I mean college moves pretty quick, pretty fast, but the NFL is even faster.
(J.A.): Do you have any role models you emulate your game after?
(D.P.): No, not really. I just try to go out there and be my own person, be my own man.
(J.A.): The New York Giants had success moving rookie linebacker Devon Kennard to both outside linebacker positions away from his natural middle linebacker position. Do you think you would have similar success?
(D.P.): Yeah I mean I can play inside and outside. I feel like I have the athleticism to be able to be flexible.
(J.A.): If the Giants were to pick you, you would be playing alongside fellow former Miami Hurricanes Antrel Rolle and Jon Beason. Have either of those guys talked to you about what it’s like to play for New York?
(D.P.): Yeah, I mean, Antrel Rolle was actually in the weight room about two weeks ago and he was just talking about the team, saying how they need a linebacker and talking about how Jon Beason can’t do it all.
(J.A.): What do you think you can bring to this team off the field?
(D.P.): Just a hard-nosed hardworking player. You know, you turn on my film, you know I speak for myself when I say you’d get a hardworking man and a real dedicated player.
(J.A.): Alright. Thank you, Denzel. Best of luck in the draft this year.
(D.P.): Thank you, man.
Huge thanks to Denzel Perryman who, despite feeling terribly with a stomach virus, still conducted this interview with me.