I am usually not that high on Hurricane linebackers because I always compare them to Ray Lewis, which is almost impossible to do.
Meet Denzel Perryman, the next Ray Lewis. Granted he has only played one season at Miami and it almost seems unfair to compare him to the Hurricane/Raven legend, but I will anyway, he is that impressive.
I first heard about Perryman back in 2009 when I was researching a few Hurricane recruits. I ran into a SunshinePreps video, highlighting some of his play and was instantly amazed by how talented this kid was.
Although he was a bit undersized he made up for it with speed and determination. He seemed to be all over the field, making tackles that no one else could make. At one time I actually thought there were two of him out there.
Does Perryman have what it takes to be as great as Ray Lewis was when he was at Miami?
He ended up being a heavily recruited linebacker by the time his senior year rolled out as Florida, Florida State, LSU and USC were really interested in his services. At first I thought there was no way Miami was going to beat out those other schools, but to my surprise, he chose Miami.
His first season as a Hurricane was terrific as he was first among the ACC freshmen with 69 tackles, second on the team. He also finished third on the team in tackles for loss with 6.5 and recorded a sack. Not bad considering that he only started five games last season.
Perryman was also named to multiple Freshmen All-American teams and was voted Miami's 2011 Newcomer of the Year by his coaches.
Eerily similar to Perryman was Lewis' freshman season when he recorded 81 tackles, two sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and was also named to the Freshman All-American team. He too started in five games as a freshman.
It's just not the stats that are comparable between the two linebackers, their size was also similar. Lewis was 6'1", 225 pounds as a freshman while Perryman stood 6'0", 220 pounds in his first season.
To add even more resemblance between the two players, Perryman chose to wear No. 52, a number Lewis had while he was at Miami. Did I mention that Perryman recently moved to the inside? The same position Lewis was.
Lewis would go on to play two more seasons at Miami in which he was named a First-Team All-American both years.
Although Perryman may not get the accolades that Lewis received when he was at Miami, I guarantee you he will be just as good as Lewis was.
Call it a hunch, but Perryman is the real deal and the most underrated linebacker in the country. That is, until he makes the All-American team at season's end.
I will be the guy in the back saying, "I told you so."