Tony Perry is no stranger to Michigan. One of the longtime Fresno area coach’s many star pupils was Johnny Sears. Perry nurtured Fresno (Calif.) Edison before sending him to Michigan. Unfortunately for the Maize & Blue that connection was severed when defensive coordinator Ron English left town with the outgoing Lloyd Carr Regime. Now almost a decade later the connection has been restored thanks to the hire new special teams coordinator John Baxter. As a matter of fact it may have taken to another level after his participation in the Wolverines annual Coaches Clinic last weekend.
“That was cool, man,” Perry said of the experience. “It was crazy. That worked out well. We talked about a lot, me and John Harbaugh and Jim. We talked about a lot. And I’m going to tell you who I really got close to was their father Jack. Jack gave me his number and wanted me to stay in touch, so I’m going to do that once or twice a week. It really turned out good. Jack, the father, I really enjoyed being around him.”
Perry found himself just as impressed with Harbaugh’s ballyhooed staff.
“They were some hard working dudes and I respect that,” he said. “(D.J. Durkin) was there working his butt off. The D-line coaches and all of them were really putting the work in. You just see it out there… the DB coaches, the safety coaches… those guys were putting the work in. I told a couple of the guys, I don’t know if some of these guys are going to hang because you all set the bar (high). There are some guys there that are going to step away because these guys are playing on a different level right now.”
Much like his latest star pupil, Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West LB Caleb Kelly, Perry’s rapport with the people in Ann Arbor was palpable. It left him with absolutely no qualms about giving Michigan a ringing endorsement.
“It’s legit, man,” Perry stated. “Real legit. It is one of the best spots, (and) I’ve been everywhere. That was a pretty nice spot.”
“They did a great job with (Kelly). He loved it.”
Apparently there wasn’t pomp & circumstance involved in Michigan’s the presentation. According to Perry it was just real.
“What they did was, it really wasn’t on football,” Perry explained. “They did (some) football. (Durkin) showed that outside linebacker and showed some of the stuff he was going to be doing. It was good stuff. He showed some clips of his guys at Florida, the same kind of looking guys (as Kelly) and the stuff they were doing. But they were really (focused more) on the school and how would he live up there being a college student. They just took him through the whole breakdown of that and he really appreciated that. I asked him how he felt and he said he felt great. There are only two other schools that did it like this.”
Based on proximity alone UCLA would seem to be the odds on favorite in this race, but Perry cautions against jumping to such conclusions.
“Let me tell you one thing about that dude… it ain’t even about leaving home and being homesick and all that,” Perry insisted. “Whatever he does, he’s going to stick it out and he’s going to take care of business. They’re not going to have any problems (with distance) out of him.”