Redshirt freshman making the most of his opportunity
Published: Thursday, September 16, 2010
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
UTEP has not had a reliable and solid tight end since 2000, when All-American Brian Natkin strapped on the pads for UTEP. That seems to have changed with the emergence of redshirt freshman tight end Kevin Perry in the spring and first game of the season.
"Kevin's got a lot of ability," head coach Mike Price said. "He hasn't really played a lot of big time football, but he wasn't wide-eyed like I thought he might be."
Perry hails from the small town of Opelousas in Louisiana. In his high school years, he displayed his athleticism in a wide array of sports including football, basketball and running track.
In football, he played receiver and defensive end. He was listed as one of the top 100 recruits coming out of the Houston area. In basketball, he was rated the No. 97 power forward in the country and in track he advanced to the state championship in the 100 meters.
Perry is listed as 6-feet 5-inches tall, weighing in at 250 pounds. Coach Price said that he needs to work on his technique, because he is no longer the biggest player on the field as he once was in high school.
"He's going to be a really good player," Price said. "He's got great skill, but he was from a small school, small league and he was able to walk all over everybody, so he's got to use technique, that is what he's got to learn."
Perry knows that is something he has to work on, but his ability to run and catch with the ball, something Price has seen on tape, is going to make him a valuable asset to senior quarterback Trevor Vittatoe.
Last year Perry sat out due to a knee injury, subsequently having to redshirt. But this season he was finally given the start after senior tight end Elijah Goldtrap went down with an injury.
In his debut game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Perry caught two passes for 36 yards. He had one catch go for 26 yards.
"It was great, it was a great feeling to finally start," Perry said. "Fans were here, my family came out so it was a wonderful opportunity for me."
Perry as well as the rest of the receiving core has been working diligently to establish chemistry throughout the offseason. He along with the rest of the receivers caught an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 passes in the off-season.
"It makes me feel very important and I'm glad that I can step in and fill a void that we need," Perry said. "The timing with Trevor is great. He's a great quarterback because he knows his personnel well so it always works out."
Perry has set some goals for the season, among them, to fulfill everything the coaches ask of him and to exceed the expectations that have been set for him.
"To step in and be a playmaker when I'm called," Perry said. "To continue to help in the run game with blocking and just fill in whenever they call me, whether it be kickoff returns or whatever. I just always need to be prepared."
Perry said his experience running track in the 100-meter dash has helped him in eluding linebackers, who have to cover his speed and size. It will also help him avoid getting hit hard because he loves making the big plays.
"It's the fact that I don't want to get hit over the middle," Perry said. "My speed is going to give me the ability to accelerate down the field."
Alex Morales may be reached at email@example.com.