2016 Season Countdown: #32 Grant Perry

2016 Season Countdown: #32 Grant Perry

August 11, 2016
Grant Perry 208x

Grant Perry (image via WUFT)

Name: Grant Perry
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 196 lbs.
High school: Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #9
Last year: I ranked Perry #70 and said he would be a backup wide receiver (LINK). He caught 14 passes for 128 yards (9.1 yards/catch) and 1 touchdown.

From purely a numbers standpoint, I probably underrated Perry last year when I ranked him at #70. I predicted he would play and potentially be a possession guy, but he saw the field more than a lot of people expected, including me. However, he struggled early, as one would expect of a freshman. Thrown out there in the opener against a rabid Utah defense, Perry ran a couple routes incorrectly and ended up causing Jake Rudock to throw 2 interceptions (a third Rudock INT wasn’t Perry’s fault). It was an inauspicious debut, but the fact that he was on the field – and skipped over some older players – indicated how much the coaches believed in him. He saw a slight reduction of playing time until he got a better grasp on the offense, and he ended up fifth on the team in receptions. He capped the season with a Florida game that saw him make 5 catches for 51 yards and his first career touchdown.

Perry’s yards per catch were slightly lower than lumbering tight end A.J. Williams’ and slightly higher than lumbering running back De’Veon Smith’s, so the big-play ability is still a question mark. I maintain that he’s a possession slot guy rather than a dynamic slot guy, but you need both types of players. Perry’s playing time may not increase significantly this year, even with a year under his belt. The top two receivers return, and a handful of talented tight ends are itching to take over the spot left by Williams. On top of that, Michigan recruited several potential early-impact guys, including Kekoa Crawford, who is bigger, faster, and stronger than Perry. The coaching staff may not want to go through the same growing pains they had with Perry last year by sending out freshmen early in the year, and Perry’s time in the system will be to his advantage. His value lies in his reliability, though there are other guys with higher ceilings.

Prediction: Starting slot receiver; 20 catches, 190 yards, 2 touchdowns


  1. Painter Smurf
    Comments: 263
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Painter Smurf
    Aug 11, 2016 at 8:38 AM

    Yes, Perry played above expectations last year. Looked good in the bowl game. Fisch clearly likes him and I expect the new QB to like him too. He may not have NFL potential, but crafty, dependable WR’s like Perry are valuable at the college level.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 29
    Aug 11, 2016 at 12:46 PM

    I do like the use of Perry as a possession guy and one of the freshmen (Chris Evans as well has been mentioned several times in the early going) as a more dynamic slot. I think the “growing pains” of a true Fr SR that you refer to may be mitigated somewhat by having a more experienced guy out there in Perry earlier on. Perry’s ceiling is limited, but his role and utility to this team are well-defined. Will be one of the more interesting position storylines to watch moving forward this season.

  3. Lanknows
    Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Aug 11, 2016 at 2:47 PM

    He already played outside WR last year, so I’m not sure the ‘slot’ limitation is entirely fair. I think it IS fair to call him a possession guy rather than a big play threat. He didn’t indicate that his speed or elusiveness was anything beyond what his recruiting profile suggested.

    What he was (at least by midseason) was a reliable target, blocker, and route runner with good hands. There’s significant value in that. Perry’s probably poised to be a starter his final 2 years in AA.

    That said, I disagree that him beating out Ways/Harris/Canteen necessarily means the coaches had a great deal of faith in him. Could be that those other guys just aren’t very good or reliable. Ways has had hands issues and isn’t particularly fast. Harris can’t get off physical coverage or stay healthy. Canteen just flat didn’t have it, yet still saw some snaps at WR last year. Competition was light.

    I underestimated Perry last year, maybe I’m doing it again, but I think there’s a very decent chance he gets passed over by younger players at some point. Still, I agree with the rank because Perry is not only valuable insurance if Darboh/Chesson get dinged, but also an important contributor in the close games we do have. If it’s 4th and goal from the 6 yard line — Perry’s got to be in the game.*

    I think the rank is right on for a #3 WR, even if there’s a chance he’s passed over.

    Good writeup Thunder.

    *I imagine someone will argue Wheatley or Bunting need to be there instead, but from my perspective they’d have to earn that trust first.

  4. Avatar
    Comments: 28
    Joined: 8/20/2015
    Aug 11, 2016 at 9:12 PM

    If anything, the relatively easy early schedule seems like a fantastic opportunity to let the dynamic freshman receivers cut their teeth in preparation for November.

    I still expect Perry to play an important role, but if one of the freshman catches up quickly, I would not be surprised to see Perry’s usage remain about the same as last year.

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