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Malcolm Perry (American football)
Perry (left) celebrates a touchdown with receiver Terrence Laster during the 2017 Army–Navy Game
|Navy Midshipmen – No. 10|
|High school||Kenwood High School (Tennessee)|
|Born:||1996/1997 (age 22–23)
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Weight||190 lb (86 kg)|
|Career highlights and awards|
The son of United States Army personnel, Perry was a military brat who grew up in Tennessee. After high school, he joined the Naval Academy in 2016. With the Midshipmen, he cycled between quarterback and slotback for his first two seasons before becoming the starting quarterback in 2018. After struggling that year and returning to slotback, he permanently reverted to quarterback in 2019. As a senior, he set various Navy and NCAA records, including the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season, and was named American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
Perry was born in Fort Campbell, where his parents Bonny and Malcolm Sr. were stationed as members of the United States Army. The family later moved to Clarksville, Tennessee. After growing up with basketball, Perry began playing football in third grade.
He attended Kenwood High School, where he played high school football for the Knights. He was named the team's quarterback in his sophomore year and led the team to three consecutive Class 5A state playoff appearances; all three postseason runs ended with losses to opponents that would make the state championship (with two winning). Perry's junior year saw him record 1,000 yards each in rushing and passing, a performance that ClarksvilleNow.com's Jimmy Trodglen wrote "almost carried the Knights offense alone." In his senior season in 2014, he recorded 800 passing yards, 1,600 rushing yards, and 20 touchdowns as he was named District 10 Most Valuable Player and The Leaf-Chronicle All Area Player of the Year. Perry ended his high school career with two All-State selections.
After high school, Perry contemplated attending Middle Tennessee State University, where his older sister's friends played college football, or enlisting in the armed forces. Although he hoped to play running back for the University of Tennessee, the team did not express interest in him. Instead, he was recruited by the three service academies—Army, Navy, and Air Force—and his hometown Austin Peay. Perry committed to Navy as the academy allowed him to play football in addition to serving, while the team also allowed him to select his position; in contrast, Air Force and Army wished to keep him at quarterback. In 2015, before enrolling at the main academy, he attended the Naval Academy Preparatory School. Despite starting the NAPS football season at slotback, he was moved to quarterback after starter Jonah Llanusa broke his wrist.
During Perry's freshman year in 2016, offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper switched his position from slotback to quarterback. In addition to playing for the junior varsity team, he began the varsity season sharing the third-string quarterback spot with Zach Abey before being demoted to fourth string due to illness. Perry made his varsity debut against Fordham after starting quarterback Tago Smith suffered an ACL tear; although he was initially inactive for the game and was watching from the stands, the injury forced the Midshipmen to pull Perry into action, while team equipment members had to return to campus to retrieve his uniform. Backup Will Worth played much of the game and Abey was suspended, leading to Perry playing in the fourth quarter. He recorded seven carries for 30 yards in the 52–16 win. Perry played two more games that year.
He returned to slotback in 2017, though he also saw time at quarterback as he started three games at the position. Against SMU and Air Force, he recorded 92- and 91-yard touchdown runs, the second- and third-longest carries in Navy history. In the season-ending Army–Navy Game, Perry recorded 250 total yards, which was 84 percent of the Midshipmen's yardage in the game and nine more than Army's total gains, and a touchdown on 30 carries. However, Navy lost 14–13. 6–6 Navy went on to play in the Military Bowl against Virginia, where Perry scored two touchdowns and rushed for 114 yards before leaving with a foot injury in the 49–7 victory. He ended the year with 1,182 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
Perry began the 2018 season as the Midshipmen's starting quarterback. In Navy's first American Athletic Conference (AAC) game of the year against Memphis, he led the team in all three offensive yardage categories (166 rushing, 22 passing, 17 receiving), the second player to do so after Keenan Reynolds in 2015. Although he recorded 100 rushing yards each in every start at quarterback, the offense struggled through the first five games and he was moved to slotback after a 35–7 loss to Air Force. While slotback remained his primary position for the remainder of the year, he continued to spend time at quarterback with Abey and Garret Lewis. The Midshipmen ended the season 3–10, their worst record since 2002. Perry led Navy in rushing yards with 1,087 on 172 attempts, along with seven rushing touchdowns; in receiving, he recorded nine catches for 167 yards and a touchdown; when throwing, he completed nine of 25 passes for 222 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
In 2019, Perry went back to quarterback and was named team co-captain. To assist him in his development as a passer, Navy hired Billy Ray Stutzmann to install features of the run and shoot offense; Stutzmann played in and coached the offensive system at Hawaii. The Midshipmen improved to 10–2 in the regular season, during which Perry recorded nine consecutive games with at least 100 rushing yards and two games with over 200, the fourth player in school history to accomplish the latter. He was also the fifth-ever Navy player to have two straight 1,000-rushing yard seasons. In early December, he was named AAC Offensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Conference; at the time of the announcement, he led the conference in rushing yards per game (136.4), which was also the most among quarterbacks in the nation, along with 1,500 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. Against Army, Perry ran for a career-high and rivalry-record 304 yards (the first Navy player to do so against an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision opponent and the second in general) and two touchdowns as the Midshipmen won 31–7, their first win in the rivalry since 2015. His performance allowed him to break two Navy records: Worth's 2016 single-season total offense record with 2,831 yards and Napoleon McCallum's 1983 single-season rushing yardage record with 1,804, while his 606 rushing yards in three Army–Navy Games were the most by any player in rivalry history. He was also the third player in school history to record 4,000 career rushing yards, joining McCallum and Reynolds.
The 2019 Liberty Bowl against Kansas State marked Perry's final college game. He completed five of seven passes for 57 yards and a touchdown, while also running for 213 yards on 28 carries; the rushing yards surpassed Ricky Dobbs' 106 in the 2009 Texas Bowl for the most by a Navy player in a bowl game. Perry received game MVP honors in the 20–17 Navy victory. He ended 2019 with 2,017 rushing yards, surpassing Jordan Lynch's record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season, while his 4,359 career rushing yards were the 79th-most among all players in college football history and the second-most by a Midshipman behind Reynolds.
After the 2019 season, Perry participated in the 2020 East–West Shrine Bowl, where he played receiver for the East team. He recorded one carry in the 31–27 East win, which resulted in a 52-yard touchdown.
Perry's parents were members of the Army's 101st Airborne Division. The two served in the Gulf War, with Malcolm Maurice Perry being involved in refueling operations and Bonny in parts repair and supply. A military brat, Malcolm Jr. is the youngest of six children, with two of his siblings being born in North Carolina and another in Germany.
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- "LeMay's 2 TDs lead East over West in Shrine Bowl". National Football League. AP. January 18, 2020. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
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