After redshirting in 2008, he was used as a back-up defensive end in 2009 as a redshirt freshman and played in all 13 games, finishing with 24 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss and a team-best 8.0 sacks, earning Freshman All-American honors.
Perry became the full-time starter at defensive end in 2010 as a sophomore (9 starts), recording 25 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, 3 pass break ups, 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery.
He started all 12 games in 2011 as a junior and had his most productive season, finishing with 54 tackles, 3 pass break-ups, 3 forced fumbles and a team-best 13.0 tackles for loss and conference-best 9.5 sacks, earning First Team All-Pac 12 honors. Perry decided to forego his final season of eligibility and declare for the 2012 NFL Draft.
Perry is an extremely active edge rusher who uses his disruptive quickness and violent hand use to get to the pocket in a variety of ways. He is a fluid and smooth athlete with good body control and flexibility. Perry doesn't have elite measureables with shorter-than-ideal arms and he isn't a sudden player despite his first step quickness off the snap.
Perry is a hybrid pass rusher and will probably be limited to a 3-4 scheme, but shows the footwork and fluid range of motion to hold his own in space. He plays fast and hard, but his lack of ideal size and length are a cause for concern ~ looks like a top-40 selection who will be valued more by 3-4 defenses.
Pass Rush: Has very good first step quickness and does a nice job in space. Has the footwork, body control and fluidity to quickly change directions. Does a nice job elevating and getting his hands up to knock down passes at the line of scrimmage. Works hard to collapse the pocket with a relentless motor. Brings aggressive playing style on every snap and doesn't quit. Lacks elite size and length ~ undersized and can be swallowed by larger blockers.
Run Defense: Read/reacts quickly with good awareness and recognition skills to chase down the play from different angles. Understands leverage and does a nice job staying balanced, getting lower than blockers and underneath their pads, usually attracting holding penalties.
Explosion: A quick, flexible athlete with sharp burst off the snap. Shows the natural bend and coordination to dip his shoulder and consistently win the edge. Doesn't always time-up his explosion and isn't a sudden pass rusher.
Strength: Uses his powerful upper body and hands to force his way into the pocket. Does a nice job swatting blocker?s hands/arms with his violent, active hands. Struggles to disengage at the point of attack and will never be the strongest on the field ~ functional strength is a question mark.
Tackling: Plays smart and disciplined, staying at home and restraining from biting on fakes ~ listens and applies coaching. Good hand strength to secure tackles. Lacks ideal arm length, but works hard to wrap and tackle through the ballcarrier.
Intangibles: Projects best as a stand up linebacker in a 3-4 scheme at the next level, but doesn't have much experience in this area and there could be a learning curve ~ can he play with his hand on the ground at the next level? Lined up in both the two and three point stance in college. Has good production on his resume, capping off his career with a strong junior season, leading the Pac-12 in sacks. Has questionable instincts when asked to drop in coverage. Appears fatigued late in games and needs to show better conditioning."
-- Dane Brugler
- Displays the ability to coil up into his stance, keep his base under him, back flat and take a positive first step off the football.
- Eats up grass well initially, getting on top of opposing tackles quickly in the pass game.
- Possesses the first step to threaten the edge and demonstrates some savvy to his game setting up his outside speed rush.
- Extends his long arms well into contact and showcases a little know how of when to work the club/chop in order to keep himself clean on the edge. Can be violent on contact.
- Possesses good length for his size, is a long armed kid who maximizes his length well into contact.
- Showcases some natural power when he's trying to turn the corner through contact. Has a stronger lower half, works hard in pursuit and showcases a good motor fighting his way past tackles.
- Does a nice job working the edge and using his length to wrap on the quarterback when closing in pursuit.
- Showcases some suddenness when trying to change directions and keep himself clean toward the corner.
- Has slightly above-average power on his bull rush, extends his inside arm well into contact, can knock opposing tackles off balance and work his legs hard through contact.
- Exhibits better natural anchor strength vs. the run game than given credit for.
- Keeps his pad level down well off the snap, has an explosive first step and a powerful punch on contact.
- Uses his length well to shed on slide down blocks, finds the football well and has some range when asked to close.
- Was productive as a junior finishing with 9.5 sacks and showing well vs. some of the best offensive tackle prospects in the country.
What I don't like…
- Is a slightly tighter pass rusher who struggles to really drop his pad level around the edge, sink his hips and flatten out under tackles.
- Too often is easily pushed past the pocket and eliminated from the play due to higher pad level.
- Isn't real sudden off his speed rush on any type of change of direction move. There isn't a real quick/sudden element to his game back inside.
- Gets upright through contact, doesn't play as strong as he could because of pad level and makes it tough on himself to disengage once a lineman gets their hands on him.
- His pass rushing arsenal is limited, looks more like a one trick pony who is only real confident working the speed rush. Will sprinkle in the bull or the inside rush at times, but doesn't have a "go to" change up.
- Gets upright vs. the run game when trying to play off blocks. Fails to sit into his base and keep his feet under him, allowing lineman to wash him from the play too easily.
Impression: Exhibits the first step to be a threat off the edge, however struggles to drop his pad level when flattening out. Plus, he doesn't have much of a counter to his game at this point. Nevertheless, has some obvious talent and is a guy you would expect to start as a rush backer in a 34 scheme and be a productive threat off the edge."
Negatives -- He could stand to get stronger and add 10-15 pounds of bulk to get any looks at all as a 4-3 DE, lacks upper body strength, needs to improve getting off blocks and be more violent with his hands to disengage... Gets a little too upright with his pad level around the corner, can get too wide around the edge and pushed out of the play... Relies too much on his burst to get to the quarterback; if his initial burst is met successfully, he doesn't have a go to counter move that he can go to with regularity... Has played primarily at RDE at Southern California, is relegated to a 3-4 defense due to his current size... Durability issues, completed the 2011 season without an injury for the first time in his USC career; suffered a right knee injury in goal line drills during an August practice prior to the 2010 season, was carted off and missed about four weeks, but only one game, was also hampered by a lingering high ankle sprain throughout the 2010 season that limited his production, also bruised his knee during the 2009 season and missed some practice but no games."