Some UM football buzz, with camp set to open Aug. 1:
• Freshman N’Kosi Perry has displayed such tantalizing physical gifts in informal player-run workouts that one veteran UM starter at another position said he would give Perry the edge in the quarterback competition. That veteran, who does not want to be identified, noted Perry’s impressive athleticism and accuracy in throwing on the move.
Because coaches haven’t been allowed to watch Perry, they don’t yet know how seriously Perry will challenge Malik Rosier or Evan Shirreffs. But coaches talk about Perry in lofty terms – comparing him to Heisman winner Charlie Ward - that they do not use with the other quarterbacks.
Another veteran, receiver Braxton Berrios, told WQAM’s Joe Rose and Zach Krantz on Thursday that Perry has “looked really good. He’s impressed a lot of people so far. He has a heck of an arm. Truly has a cannon. It’s one thing to see it on film. It’s another to see it in person. He’s starting to understand the playbook. That’s going to be the main thing. Can he understand the playbook and can he read college defenses and make the right decision?”
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• Even though receiver Dionte Mullins made progress this spring, a UM official cautioned against anointing him, noting his play leveled off late in spring. “I've just got to get him to play consistent,” receivers coach Ron Dugans said.
Among those battling for the No. 2 and No. 3 receiver jobs, freshmen Jeff Thomas and DeeJay Dallas probably have the most upside, Thomas and Mike Harley perhaps the best speed.
“Jeff Thomas and Mike Harley can be really special,” Berrios said.
But Berrios is the most polished and best route-runner, and one UM person said that shouldn’t be underestimated.
• Berrios, on WQAM, about new cornerbacks Jhavonte Dean and Dee Delaney: “Dean can cover ground. He’s a long, lanky cornerback. He has great speed. We are very excited about him. And Dee Delaney as well. He’s a very big, strong corner and he can run as well and has good technique and it will only get better with [cornerback coach] Mike Rumph.”
• Though UM has the nation’s No. 1 rated recruiting class for 2018, coaches privately believe one key to contending for a playoff berth in 2018 is persuading defensive tackles Kendrick Norton and Richard McIntosh Jr. to return for their senior seasons in 2018 and not turn pro.
UM already has put that bug in the ears of people close to at least one of them. Norton and McIntosh are close friends and turning pro will be tempting if they’re told they will go in the first three rounds of the draft. Whether that happens will depend largely on how they play this season.
• Barring something unforeseen, the remainder of UM’s recruiting class is expected to arrive this weekend: defensive end D.J. Johnson, receiver Evidence Njoku, defensive end Jon Ford, linebacker D’Andre Wilder, and punter Zach Feagles.
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