Sparta Pope John XXIII (N.J.) defensive tackle Dalyn Wade-Perry has been one of the top defensive linemen in the country and for good reason. At 6-foot-4, 325 pounds, the 3-star recruit isn't easy to move . But what makes Wade-Perry one of the top recruits in the East is his quickness.
How quick? Pope John XXIII head football coach Brian Carlson describes him as a dancing bear.
“What makes him so unique is his feet and his hand quickness," Carlson said. "For a kid that big, you don't see that much at all."
Right now, the Stanford Cardinal are the leader for the three-star recruit, while UCLA and Florida State are pursuing him as well. He announced on Monday his decision could be coming soon.
So what makes him such a special recruit? Carlson knew right away. When looking at him as a middle school student, he saw “D-Wade” on the kick-off unit, running down players.
He checked the roster again, thinking he was watching the wrong player, but it was Dalyn.
The two met and the rest is history. Wade-Perry moved up to the Northwestern portion of the state to play at St. John XXIII. Part of the move meant staying with a host family, something Carlson said will help Wade-Perry at the next level.
“Not a lot of kids can do that and do as well as he has on and off the field, so he's a real unique situation in that way.”
Pope John XXIII High School has had Division I talent in Ohio State wide receiver Noah Brown and Sonny Abramson at Virginia. After his freshman year, Carlson could see Wade-Perry potentially flourishing into that type of player, but he needed to communicate that his young player.
“If you want to be the guy, you have to take it to another level,” Carlson recalls telling Wade-Perry. “Junior year is when he really started to develop, he really got committed.”
“D-Wade” showed up in a year where he was a senior leader and faced some of the toughest competition New Jersey has to offer, posting 64 tackles and seven sacks.
While Wade-Perry has made progress over the years and he has gotten in better shape, both him and his coach realize he has a way to go. When he has the resources of a Division I athlete, they expect him to improve exponentially, a notion Carlson calls “scary.”
“What I'm excited for is when they get him with a full-time nutritionist and they get him jacked up, he's going to be at the next level.”