After signing day came and went, Alryk Perry still had not found a home. While exploring options on where to go from that point, Syracuse came knocking on his door with a chance to play for the Orange. Shortly thereafter, he joined their 2013 class.
Now on campus, he is experiencing the life of a division one football player. Despite being a late addition to the class, Perry says he is fitting right in with the team.
"I feel the same as everybody else," Perry claimed. "I haven't been treated any differently despite only having one offer coming out of high school. It's a family environment, to be honest. I'm glad to be here. Everyday I come out here, I see people working and I work hard too. It's been great."
Perry, like all incoming freshman, has to adapt in order to become acclimated to this level of football. One of the biggest adjustments is learning Syracuse's defensive system.
"I still need work coming in at linebacker," Perry admitted. "Coach can tell I'm not naturally moving the way a linebacker should. That's something I need to work on. In high school I didn't have a defensive scheme, so learning one is new to me. The coaches explain it to me, but it's still coming slowly."
While Perry says all of the veteran linebackers have helped at different points since his arrival on campus, he says a former player has taken him under his wing in order to reduce the learning curve.
"One of them graduated last year, Siriki Diabate," Perry explained. "He's the assistant linebackers coach. He's been teaching me and the other freshmen linebackers the defensive scheme. We came in here not knowing anything and now we know a lot of the defensive already."
Redshirting is something that a lot of players deal with, but don't necessarily enjoy. Putting the team first, Perry relishes having a role at Syracuse even if that means working with the scout team and postponing his on the field contributions.
"I'll probably redshirt," Perry said. "Definitely work on the scout team. Coach told us that we have to know our place on the team. And I've found my place for this year on the scout team. I'm happy with that right now."
One of the things that has stood out to Perry since arriving on campus is the difference in the talent level from high school to college.
"Everybody on defense is fast," Perry declared. "They're big, they're strong and they look like the position they're supposed to be playing. The defensive ends are big and strong, the linebackers are tough, the safeties are flying around, the corners are long and lean and they hit people. It's a tough defense."
During the team's time at Fort Drum, many players bonded with one another. It was a chance for some of the new players to really become part of the family. That was where Perry said he really felt like he belonged.
"We were at Fort Drum and we didn't have any cell phone service," Perry recalled. "Everybody was trying to get to know me. They found out little about me and they like me now. They told me I was raised right and I speak correctly. They said they like me!"
Whether he helps the 2013 Orange on the field or behind the scenes, Perry says the mentality of the team is to show their conference how good Syracuse football can be.
"We plan on winning," Perry announced. "We want to show the ACC that we are an ACC team. Just got out there and dominate."