We’re less than 40 days from the start of the 2013 college football season, and that means preview countdowns! In the past, we’ve limited these lists to just the top 25 players, but this season, we’re upping our game to 50. So just about every day until the season starts, there will be a new player profile up here as we count down to the top ACC player for 2013.
Obviously these lists are always completely subjective — and thus completely bulletproof — so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, too.
Senorise Perry was primed for a monster season last year as a junior. But reduced carries and a torn ACL derailed him, capping his rushing yardage at just 705 on the year. For 2013 though, he’s the main option for Louisville at running back, and appears to have returned at full health. The speedster (4.46 40-yard dash) has shown himself to be a dominant force both running with and catching the ball. Now, with a full season in front of him and a relatively easy American Athletic Conference schedule, it looks like very little can stop the Cardinals top back.
Right away, you’ll notice that Perry had some absolutely fantastic games in 2012, and some less-than-stellar ones, too. Against Kentucky and Southern Miss, he showed off the stuff that made Louisville think he was a feature back to begin with: a combined 226 yards on 38 carries, plus three TDs. In October against Pittsburgh, however, he really stood out as a potential homerun threat and a real game-changer. On just 12 carries, he tallied 101 yards and four scores in what ended up being a shootout win against the Panthers. His season would slide from there, but it didn’t stop anyone from seeing the possibilities with Perry as the main ball carrier. With that speed and his adequate size (6’0″ and 187 pounds), he possesses all the ingredients to necessary for a great mix of power running and a finesse-based approach all in one.
And it’s likely that’s exactly what this Louisville team will need this year. As they wrap up their final year in the Big East/American before moving on to the ACC, they’ve got sky-high expectations surrounding them, and a target square on their backs. A lot of that falls on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, but it’s no stretch to say that Perry plays an equal role in putting all the pieces together for the Cards. Last year’s running game was ranked just 105th in the country, and that was never made more clear than the games in which Bridgewater and Louisville struggled and/or lost. Perry’s consistency in the backfield is the counter-balance to the Cardinals’ passing attack and will be absolutely essential to this team living up to the high bar set for them. Despite the 11 wins last year, there were still plenty of close calls or rough losses — several of which a strong running game could’ve alleviated. So long as he’s healthy, I’d say Perry’s up to the challenge.