Mark Perry felt good enough about playing football at Colorado to give his verbal commitment to the Buffaloes in June.
Through a coaching change and a late offer from a Pac-12 rival, Perry ultimately maintained his good feelings about the Buffs.
Perry was one of 17 players who signed with the Buffs on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.
New CU head coach Mel Tucker didn’t have much time after being officially hired just two weeks ago, but rallied to get a good start on the 2019 class.
CU lost eight verbal commitments after previous head coach Mike MacIntyre was fired, but got one back Wednesday. Ultimately, Tucker has held on to 11 previous commits so far – including Perry – and added six others to the class. The additions included linebacker Marvin Ham, from Belleville, Mich. He was committed to Boston College until signing with the Buffs on Wednesday afternoon.
The early signing period runs through Friday, and then the regular signing period begins Feb. 6.
Keeping Perry is one of the biggest wins of this recruiting cycle for Tucker.
“I just wanted to stick with it (after MacIntyre was fired),” Perry said. “I didn’t want to decommit. I wanted to see who they hired and what happened. Once I met (Tucker), I knew he was a really good dude. He’s a really hard working person and he seems like he really wants to get to work right away. When I get there, I know I’m going to be getting to work right away.”
Perry received a late scholarship offer from Southern California and had 14 total Football Bowl Subdivision offers, including five from the Pac-12.
While there was some uncertainty over the past month, Perry said, “You always have to give stuff a chance. I didn’t really panic.”
It certainly helped that CU has sent several defensive backs to the NFL in recent years and that Tucker, a long-time defensive backs coach, has a history of doing the same.
“One of the last DBs he coached (Georgia’s Deandre Baker) just won the Jim Thorpe Award, and that’s of course one of my goals,” Perry said. “He can help me achieve that. That played a big part.”
Perry was excited not only for his own future to be set, but for the players that will join him in Boulder. That includes K.J. Trujillo, who decommitted after MacIntyre was fired, but ultimately decided to become a Buff.
The addition of Ham was another major win for Tucker and the Buffs.
One of the top players in Michigan and rated the No. 12 inside linebacker recruit in the country, Ham was committed to Boston College until visiting CU last weekend.
Ham was one of two top Michigan prospects to sign with the Buffs. Running back Jaren Mangham, who originally committed on the same June day as Perry, signed as well.
In addition to Perry, Ham and Mangham, the class is highlighted by four-star receiver Braedin Huffman-Dixon.
While the majority of the class to this point is made up of players recruited by MacIntyre, it has not taken Tucker long to put his stamp on CU recruiting.
During his introductory press conference on Dec. 6, Tucker said, “We will be physical.” It’s clear that Tucker intends to bring in a different type of physicality.
On Wednesday, Tucker and his staff added 320-pound offensive lineman Va’atofu Sauvao from Modesto (Calif.) Junior College.
Tucker also signed three big, physical defensive linemen, including Hinds (Miss.) Community College teammates Jeremiah Doss and Janaz Jordan. Austin Williams, a 330-pound defensive lineman originally committed to Colorado State, joined the mix, too.
Also joining the Buffs is Auburn graduate transfer Jalen Harris, a 6-foot-5, 255-pound tight end.
Tucker will hold a signing day press conference on Thursday.
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at email@example.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.