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Quinn Perry expects to be steadying presence in middle of CU Buffs defense

Inside linebacker ranked second in tackles for CU in ’21

DENVER, CO - September 11, 2021: University of Colorado Boulder's Quinn Perry tries to get past the block of Texas A&M's Caleb Chapman during the September 11, 2021 game at Empower Field in Denver.  (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
DENVER, CO – September 11, 2021: University of Colorado Boulder’s Quinn Perry tries to get past the block of Texas A&M’s Caleb Chapman during the September 11, 2021 game at Empower Field in Denver. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Quinn Perry suddenly is an elder statesman on the Colorado defense, and yet in the grand scheme of things he hasn’t played all that much football at the FBS level.

For Perry, taking advantage of an extra season of eligibility was a perfect fit. So was the senior linebacker’s decision to stick with the Buffaloes.

As the Buffs go through spring practice with a revamped roster and an overhauled coaching staff, Perry is one consistent presence looking to take a bigger role — both in production and as a leader — for CU’s defense in 2022.

“I knew that I’d want to play another year regardless. And I knew I wanted to play here,” Perry said. “The Buffs family is always going to be a part of my life. It was never in my mind to leave or play anywhere else. I always just wanted to play as much as I could.

“My earlier years I didn’t get as much time as I wanted to. So I think now that I’m in the later years of my career here, I definitely want to play it all out and play it through.”

Perry won’t specifically be tasked with replacing star linebacker Nate Landman, as that duo started alongside each other for six games at inside linebacker last season. But after Landman’s senior season was cut short by injury, it was Perry who assumed Landman’s role in the middle as the de facto captain of the defense.

Overall, Perry started 11 games, and his leadership role has continued to blossom during the offseason.

“Quinn is acting like a really good leader. He’s had a great offseason training,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. “He’s had a good teacher. Playing behind Nate for a couple years, he’s seen how he operates. He’s not trying to be Nate, but in his own way he’s trying to show great leadership and great play and consistency, too. He is taking ownership of that. I’m glad about that. He’s a veteran, well-seasoned player. He still has things he needs to continue to work on. But he’s definitely moving in that direction.”

A southern California native, Perry spent his first two seasons at El Camino College before transferring to CU. Perry played in one game on special teams in 2019 and ultimately redshirted, then appeared in all six games during the shortened 2020 season, again mostly on special teams.

That changed last season, when Perry emerged as a steady force on CU’s defense. Perry posted a career-high 11 tackles in CU’s double-overtime win against Oregon State and also hit double digits with 10 tackles against Minnesota and Washington. Perry finished the 2021 season as the Buffs’ second-leading tackler with 78.

“I think it comes a little naturally for middle linebackers. It’s kind of our responsibility to call the defense and work with everybody else to get the defense together as a whole,” Perry said. “As far as leadership goes, I think it’s been placed upon me naturally. Guys trust me to make plays and trust me to know their job and everybody else’s job. I’m more than ready to take on that challenge.”

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