Former Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry faces the unusual challenge of developing as a wide receiver during the offseason without team practices, workouts or camps with the Miami Dolphins, who drafted him in the seventh round in April.
Perry, 23, says it meant a lot to get that call and know that a team trusted him enough to draft him. The 5-foot-10, 181-pound Perry, who signed his rookie contract June 3, was grateful to get the call from the Dolphins April 25.
“It’s extremely significant. It motivates me a lot,” Perry said on Glenn Clark Radio May 29. “It motivates me that much more to get out on the field whenever I can, get in the weight room whenever I can, and just work as hard as I can, so that the people that put trust in me … I can make sure that they made the right decision.”
All rookies have to adapt to the transition from college to professional football without normal OTAs and rookie camps. Perry has to work even harder because he is making the transition not only from college to the NFL but also from quarterback to wide receiver.
Perry left his mark at Navy, leading the team to an 11-2 record as a senior. That included a 31-7 win against Army, during which he ran for 304 yards, a record in the history of the Army-Navy game. Perry broke the FBS single-season quarterback rushing record during his senior year with 2,017 yards. He rushed for a total of 4,359 yards and accounted for 43 touchdowns from 2016-2019.
“I’m just trying to do what I can, use my strengths and try to make them even stronger and develop my weaknesses and try to make them stronger,” Perry said. “And try to be the best wide receiver I can come Day One.”
Perry said he is learning how and what to do with the newfound free time and autonomy he has after spending four years studying quantitative economics at the demanding Naval Academy. He makes the most of the downtime by keeping a schedule and a routine.
“Once I’m done with whatever I have to do, if I was at school, I’d definitely have something else to do, whether it be a military obligation or a football obligation,” Perry said.
While Perry can’t get out on the field with the Dolphins yet, he fills his time with workouts and practice. He jokingly added that he wishes he had a JUGS machine, but he found another way to get experience running routes.
Instead of using a machine, Perry works out with some former teammates from Kenwood High School in Tennessee. He said that the number of passes he catches per day is “in the hundreds,” but that it’s not enough. He is happy to be able to play with his old teammates, one of whom plays college football as a quarterback.
“He’s all I need right now,” Perry said. “He is with me on the field every day so I’m grateful to have him and a couple other guys who play DB and wide receiver also.”
When he was drafted, Perry got a message from Brian Beaubien, his high school coach who followed his career at Navy. Perry looks up to Beaubien, a cancer survivor. He said that he got a lot of messages but that hearing from his coach was the most meaningful.
“The one that probably hit me home the most was my high school coach,” Perry said. “He’s been following me all throughout my career at Navy and he battled cancer, beat cancer and all that stuff.”
He wants to keep doing everything he can to improve so he can report to Miami ready for the demands of being a wide receiver in the NFL. Perry is excited to get to South Florida, but he knows that it can be easy to get caught up in other things.
“Miami is Miami, so everyone knows what comes with that,” he said, hinting at those aspects of the “outside life” that can be distracting.
But Perry plans to keep football his top priority and isn’t worried about staying out of trouble. While he waits for the season to start, Perry intends to keep doing everything he can to be ready for his rookie season. He said that he is motivated by the gratitude he has for the opportunity to chase his dreams.
“The stars aligned,” Perry said,“so why waste the opportunity to go out there and chase a dream?”
For more from Perry, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox