The best part of writing up wide receivers I like during a draft cycle is seeing that they are a 3-star recruit or lower, and A.T. Perry is in that category. The big man from Wake Forest is starting to build some momentum in the NFL draft community, don’t get left behind. The deeper devy and C2C communities should know him, but that isn’t enough. His stock should be soaring like Dogecoin did before Elon Musk appeared on Saturday Night Live.
Unlike Dogecoin, you may be able to get a return on investment, even if you are jumping on the train late. The entire Wake Forest offense has been born again under coach Dave Clawson now that he has the quarterback he needs. Their combo at Wake Forest of Sam Hartman and Perry makes them must-watch every week.
Please get to know the playmaking receiver before you tune in this season or invest in him.
The Journey from 3-Star to Top-End Prospect
Perry was a severally underrated recruit coming out in the 2018 class. His 247 Sports recruiting profile was listed as 6’5” and weighing 180 pounds. Sometimes coaches can see players dominate in high school and chalk it up to size, and he proved that wasn’t the case. After earning All-County honors in High School his senior year, he decided to commit to UAB but would keep his recruiting open. Dave Clawson recruited him to Wake Forest, the biggest school to give him an offer, and he would ultimately end up with them.
During his first two years on the Demon Deacons, he struggled to find footing. Like Cedric Tillman, it took him a while to breakout, but when he did, it was in a big way. Once he did, though, in 2021, he would tally up a whopping 71 receptions for 1,293 yards. On top of those, he would also find the endzone an impressive 15 times as the Deacons went full air raid. We can all expect over 500 pass attempts from Hartman again. Could we see more production from Perry if at all possible? It’s possible, regardless though it is important that you monitor him this season and he continues to grow.
A new angle I want to include in my devy spotlights is the analytics angle. PFF’s stats and numbers, especially on WRs, can prove valuable.
When you look at his numbers, there are two numbers you like to look at, route running and drop percentage of on-target passes. His route running grades all season were very high, with a dash of less than ideal numbers sprinkled in. His season-long grade for route running was an impressive 81.5, a great number to have.
He backed that strong number by posting a drop percentage of on-target passes of just 12.5%. He had no drops in ten games, but in his last four games, he saw that percentage jump. In the back half of the season, he had three games with drop percentages of 25% or higher. I don’t see his hands being a problem on film, so don’t let that number scare you.
What You See When Watching Him
Usually, when you watch a big-bodied receiver, you don’t expect them to be very agile. Perry is the exception. He uses his footwork to separate when facing a press or safety when going downfield. Stutter steps, little breaks on his route, all of these are what literally separates him. Pair that ability to get open with his size, and you have a serious problem on defense.
To go with his smooth footwork, the body control Perry displays time and again is beautiful. When facing a contested catch or a red zone rep, he demonstrates his body control to win a fade or overpower a linebacker. Teams love pushing the ball down the field but neglect the work over the middle. In Perry, you get the best of both worlds, which allows him to be the ultimate difference maker.
When you add it all up for Perry, you need to realize one thing. He is far from plateauing. He has shown he is constantly improving and growing as a player. Perry started as a big but lanky-looking player when he arrived at Wake Forest. Now he looks the part both physically and on film. That uptick we are seeing is something NFL teams will weigh heavily. They want those players who can be molded into what they want. Perry could be that and then some by the time he gets into the league.
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