For Hire: Linebacker Who Gets to the Ball With Bad Intentions

Denzel Perryman
Middle Linebacker
University of Miami

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Denzel Perryman. I’m a middle linebacker from the University of Miami, and I get to the ball with bad intentions. I’m writing because I want to play for your football team.

I uncovered my potential and athletic ability my first year of high school. My very first game, on 4th and 1, I made a huge game changing play right at the goal line by crashing through the line of scrimmage. That play made me feel like I was on a whole different level, and I’ve fully dedicated myself to football since then.

Early on in my career at the U, I was compared to Ray Lewis – primarily based upon our stats, athletic build and our style of play. I had the chance to meet Ray when I was a freshman. It was a crazy experience for me because I remember knowing who he was even before I started playing football. I had on number 52, and he said “I am going to be watching you.” That added a little extra pressure on me and for the past four years, I have done everything in my power to meet and exceed the standard of one of the greatest linebackers of all-time.

While running an NFL-style system with a 4-3 disguised defense, our coaches have readily prepared me for this next step in my career. Playing in the ACC has allowed me to compete against some of the best players in the nation, but I think our practices prepared me for the NFL as much as anything else. I practiced every day against guys who either are or will eventually play on Sundays. My teammate Phillip Dorsett is one of the fastest guys I’ve ever seen in my life – and he’s going to make a franchise very happy. Brandon Linder plays for the Jaguars now, but when we were both at Miami, we went up against each other every day and by doing so, he made me better. Same goes for Seantrel Henderson of the Bills – another big guy I went against every day. My freshman year, I lined up right next to Sean Spence and had Oliver Vernon right in front of me. I’m used to playing against and with the highest caliber of athletes.

My two greatest skills on the field are simple: Getting to the ball and tackling. If you are watching me play on TV and someone has the football, it won’t be long until you see me in the frame. I want to contribute to every play.

Here’s a video from last year’s spring game to show you what I mean:

I understand that being an inside linebacker is more than just tackling. While I was at Miami, I took on the responsibility of being the leader on defense – making sure everybody is doing what they need to do, where they are supposed to do it. Leadership is also about keeping the team’s confidence up. When the defense is down after letting in a score, it’s my job to get their confidence up again. Being vocal in those moments can ensure one bad sequence doesn’t dictate how the game ends.

As a whole, I feel so blessed that I was able to accomplish everything I wanted to as a college athlete: Third-team All-American, first team All-ACC, tied for ninth all-time in tackles at the U with 343 and a finalist for the Butkus Award for the nation’s top linebacker. But my favorite moment on the field was my junior year, when we played Wake Forest. Their running back had this idea that he could run me over. I go in to make the tackle, he lowered his shoulder a little… so I lowered him.

Bad intentions.


Denzel Perryman