USC Trojans: Nick Perry

USC spring wrap

May, 14, 2012
2011 overall record: 10-2
2011 conference record: 7-2 (1st, South)
Returning starters: Offense: 9; defense: 8; kicker/punter: 2

Top returners
QB Matt Barkley, S T.J. McDonald, OL Khaled Holmes, WR Robert Woods, WR Marqise Lee, RB Curtis McNeal, DL Devon Kennard, DL Wes Horton, CB Nickell Robey, LB Dion Bailey, LB Hayes Pullard, K Andre Heidari

Key losses
OL Matt Kalil, DL Nick Perry, FB Rhett Ellison, DL DaJohn Harris, DL Christian Tupou, LB Chris Galippo, RB Marc Tyler, WR Brandon Carswell, LS Chris Pousson

2011 statistical leaders (*returners)
Rushing: Curtis McNeal* (1,005 yards)
Passing: Matt Barkley* (3,528 yards)
Receiving: Robert Woods* (1,292 yards)
Tackles: Dion Bailey*, Hayes Pullard* (81)
Sacks: Nick Perry (9.5)
Interceptions: T.J. McDonald* (3)

Spring answers

1. Marqise Lee is ready for prime time: It’s no secret that Lee is a talented player who put together a terrific freshman season, but he took that performance to an even higher level this spring when he was the best player on the field for the Trojans. We’re seeing a rare athlete in Lee, one whose acrobatic style is being compared to Lynn Swann.

2. The USC defense is worthy of mention: There is so much attention paid to Matt Barkley and his offensive weapons -- and deservedly so -- but this spring was a reminder that the Trojans defense is going to be pretty good too. The back seven will be a strength, as the starters return intact plus there is a nice supply of talented depth.

3. The future of the USC quarterback spot is in good hands: Spring was an extended audition for Max Wittek and Cody Kessler, as Barkley was limited in his reps. Both players had their moments as they look to settle into the No. 2 role and the inside track to be Barkley’s heir apparent. The Trojans also got a verbal commitment from Max Browne (No. 2 rated pocket passer in ESPN 150), who will enroll next spring.

Fall questions

1. Interior of the D-line: One of the keys of spring was replacing two senior starters from the middle of the line. George Uko stepped in at defensive tackle and had flashes of real solid play. After Uko, however, things are not so clear. There is no established backup for him and no set starter at nose tackle, as J.R. Tavai and Antwaun Woods continue to battle for the job.

2. Lack of depth at tailback: The Trojans have a returning 1,000-yard rusher in Curtis McNeal but not a lot of experience behind him. D.J. Morgan had 42 carries in 2011, Buck Allen redshirted last season and Nelson Agholor has yet to join the team. That’s the extent of the playing time for the 2012 USC reserve tailbacks.

3. Protecting the blind side: There wasn’t a ton of worry last year about left tackle with Matt Kalil but replacing him has not been easy. Kevin Graf got the first look, but then the coaches moved Aundrey Walker into the spot. Lane Kiffin said Walker was not consistent but he showed enough with the potential of the size benefits he brings that he will stay as the starter heading into fall camp.

Recap of Trojans in NFL draft

April, 28, 2012
After seeing Matt Kalil and Nick Perry go off the board quickly in the first round of the NFL draft, USC fans waited until fullback Rhett Ellison was chosen by the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth round (No. 128 overall) to see another former Trojans player selected.

That was it for former USC players in this draft and, although several players have and will be signing free agent contracts, the total of three overall picks reflects the fewest number of USC players selected in a draft since 2002.

Whether that reality is a comment on recruiting, a coaching transition or a program under sanctions, the fact is that there were nine players who were eligible to be drafted this year that came to USC ranked as one of the top five players at their position. Only one, Kalil, was selected in the draft.

That mark should certainly change next year when Trojans are likely to dominate the draft boards, particularly with seniors such as Matt Barkley, T.J. McDonald and Khaled Holmes.

The good news is that USC continues to lead the nation when it comes to total number of draftees (476) and first round selections (77).

Kalil became the 22nd offensive lineman to be drafted in the first round from USC since 1968, an average of one every other year. He is the third member of his family to be selected in the draft -- father Frank by the Bills and brother Ryan by the Panthers -- while he is also the third USC offensive tackle to be a first-round choice of the Vikings (Ron Yary, 1968 and Steve Riley, 1974).

Ellison certainly has some NFL connections of his own as his father, Riki, was a fifth-round pick of the San Francisco 49’ers and won two Super Bowls during his playing career.

Kalil and Ellison were one of three sets of college teammates who were chosen by the Vikings in the draft (Harrison Smith and Robert Blanton from Notre Dame and Jarius Wright and Greg Childs from Arkansas).

Perry will have some USC familiarity when he heads to Green Bay as he will be lined up opposite Clay Matthews, who was a senior in 2008 when Perry redshirted for the Trojans.

Perry was known as a defensive end in high school and college, but the Packers are planning to use him as an outside linebacker to apply some much needed pass rush help for the defense.

There were also several early free agent signings for USC players on Saturday:

RB Marc Tyler -- Green Bay Packers

WR Brandon Carswell -- Oakland Raiders

LB Chris Galippo -- Indianapolis Colts

ESPN radio: Kalil and Perry

April, 26, 2012
Listen to Matt Kalil and Nick Perry discuss being picked in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday by the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, respectively.

Kalil's interview can be heard here while Perry's interview can be heard here.

Trojans put two in first round

April, 26, 2012
The USC Trojans had a pair of players drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft on Thursday with OT Matt Kalil (Minnesota Vikings, No. 4) and LB Nick Perry (Green Bay Packers, No. 28).

The selection of Kalil was not a surprise, as the Vikings had long been rumored to be interested in the All-American left tackle. Kalil was the consensus choice as the top offensive tackle available in the draft -- with particularly strong pass protection skills -- while the Vikings gave up 49 sacks last year, a number they will certainly hope to reduce for 2011 first-round choice QB Christian Ponder.

“The Vikings called tonight and asked if I was ready for the draft to be over with,” Kalil told ESPN radio. “I said hell yeah. It seemed like forever that I was waiting in the green room but I know it wasn’t that long. There’s no place I’d rather be than with Minnesota and I’m really excited right now.

“There are certain aspects of the game I’ll look to work on, such as bull-rushing. I’ve been working hard on that this offseason. I think they will find I’m very coachable and I’ll work my butt off.”

(Read full post)

Perry to Packers at No. 28

April, 26, 2012
USC defensive end Nick Perry was selected by the Green Bay Packers with the No. 28 overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft.

Perry played DE for the Trojans, but will likely begin his Packers career as an outside linebacker opposite Clay Matthews, another former USC star. It will be a return to the Midwest for Perry, who grew up in Detroit before coming to the West Coast to play college football.

Perry becomes the 77th first-round draft choice from USC and the 475th choice overall. Both totals are the most of any college team in NFL history.

WeAreSC Roundtable 

April, 26, 2012
Rhett EllisonAP Photo/Mark J. TerrillIt doesn't matter where an NFL team decides to put him -- the WeAreSC panel sees good things at the next level for fullback/tight end Rhett Ellison.

“This year’s draft class for USC has Matt Kalil and Nick Perry going early but a lot of uncertainty after that. Give your thoughts on three draft eligible players -- outside of Kalil and Perry -- who will have the best chance of sticking with a team, either through the draft or free agency.”

Garry Paskwietz

WeAreSC Roundtable 

March, 29, 2012
Brian BauchamGarry Paskwietz/WeAreSC.comSenior cornerback Brian Baucham has turned heads this spring with big plays, going from a little-used afterthought to a potential player in USC's cornerback rotation.
“Give your top 5 surprises of spring ball”

Garry Paskwietz

1) Brian Baucham -- To say that any contribution from Baucham was unexpected would be an understatement. Baucham has been off the radar for years due to injuries and academics and there was no indication that he was ready to make a strong return, but that’s exactly what’s happened. He’s been consistently making plays ever since he came back during the first week of spring.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Saturday practice report

March, 10, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- Just like Pete Carroll couldn’t control his fondness for the defense, Lane Kiffin hasn’t been shy about siding with the offense during his coaching tenure. But through three spring practices, it’s the other side of the ball that has caught Kiffin’s eye.

“Our defense is going to be better,” Kiffin said of what he will take away from the first week of spring ball. “Just watching them, they have a good look about themselves. They’re practicing as hard as they’ve practiced since we’ve been here. They’re holding each other accountable. I’m excited about their development.”

Kiffin heaped praise upon defensive end Wes Horton and cornerback Nickell Robey following Saturday’s practice. Both were responsible for turnovers, as Horton batted a pass in the air and came down with an interception, while Robey chased a ball carrier deep into the secondary and forced a fumble.

“I think Wes has pretty much dominated,” Kiffin said. “He looks faster and he’s doing a great job with his hands.”

Kiffin said the coaches have moved Horton to the right side of the line--a position vacated by Nick Perry -- in an attempt to produce more “explosive plays” from the quarterback’s blind side. Kiffin’s praise for Robey is nothing unusual, as he became an impact player during his first fall camp. Robey earned the MVP nod from Kiffin after day three.

(Read full post)

Perry ready for anything

March, 8, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- For Nick Perry, the USC Pro Day on Wednesday wasn’t so much about establishing himself in the eyes of pro scouts. That part was taken care of at the NFL combine last month with a solid performance that earned him a spot as the No. 5 defensive end on ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper’s most recent list of top players at each position.

His marks at the combine were so good that he didn’t even run the 40-yard dash or lift in the bench press at Pro Day. Instead, he focused on taking advantage of the opportunity to showcase his talents in the position drills. The twist to the story is that the position drills he took part in were at linebacker.

[+] EnlargeNick Perry
Erik McKinney/WeAreSC.comNick Perry is getting looks as a 3-4 outside linebacker as well as at his college position of defensive end.

There are several NFL teams who run a 3-4 defense and they are now considering Perry as a possible outside linebacker in their system after his impressive showing at the combine. In fact, Kiper’s latest mock draft has Perry being selected in the first round by the Green Bay Packers with the No. 28 pick as a linebacker.

At 6-foot-3, 271 pounds, Perry becomes an attractive pass rush commodity with his combine marks of 4.64 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 38.5-inch vertical leap and a 10-foot, 4 inch broad jump. The on-field production was also there, as Perry led the Pac-12 Conference in 2011 with 9.5 sacks.

For Perry, it doesn’t really matter which position he plays, he just wants an opportunity.

“Whatever it takes to play, I have no preference,” Perry said after the Pro Day workout. “If they want me to be the punter, I’ll be the punter. Whatever happens, I’ll roll with it.

“I think I showed them at the combine that I’m a competitor and today I just wanted to come out and show them that I could play in space. I think I have the speed to play both spots. It would take some specific training for linebacker to work with my hips but I think I could do it. With the right training, I can do anything.”

To continue with his training, Perry will head back to Arizona for more work at Athlete’s Performance Institute between now and the draft. He doesn’t have any private team workouts set, but when those come he will be well prepared thanks to advice from USC defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, a former assistant coach with the New Orleans Saints.

“Coach ‘O’ just told me to give great effort in those workouts,” Perry said. “He told me it’s all about your approach to the game at that level. I’m just going to go in there, work hard and be coachable.”

The USC Pro Day did mark the final on-campus session for Perry of his Trojans career, one that began in 2008 when he came to USC after recording a state-record 36 sacks in his senior season at Detroit King HS. Perry was the rare elite recruit from Michigan to leave the state for college football and -- while he says the experience at USC has been a memorable one -- he is ready for the next step.

“I will truly miss all the things I did here,” Perry said. “I have no regrets about coming out early for the draft but these times at USC will never be forgotten. I’m thankful and blessed for being in the position to take part in this draft process for the NFL, it’s been everything I thought it would be. I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life.”

USC pro day updates 

March, 7, 2012
We will be providing updates from Pro Day today.

These are unofficial 40 times:

Marc Tyler 4.83

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Perry boosts his draft stock 

February, 27, 2012
Coming into the NFL scouting combine, there was a lot of talk about USC defensive end Nick Perry being no worse than a second-round selection and a guy who could possibly even work his way into being a first-round choice with a good showing in Indianapolis.

Well, it's safe to say that Perry certainly gave himself a chance to move up on the draft boards with some very strong marks in the testing drills. Perry (6-foot-3, 271 pounds) had the top defensive line marks in the vertical leap (38.5 inches) and broad jump (10-feet, 4 inches) while posting the No. 3 time in the 40-yard dash (4.64 seconds).

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

WeAreSC Roundtable 

February, 9, 2012
George UkoChris Williams/Icon SMIRedshirt freshman George Uko showed flashes of potential in 2011 and suddenly becomes the veteran presence for the Trojans at defensive tackle.

With spring ball set to begin in less than a month, the WeAreSC staff looks ahead to the three most intriguing positions and the player at each spot they are most interested in watching.

Kyle Williams

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The USC Trojans were a young team in 2011, but several upperclassmen made their marks on a 10-2 season and will now have an opportunity to do it again at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Seven draft-eligible former Trojans will take part in the event, which begins Feb. 22 in Indianapolis.

The players are offensive tackle Matt Kalil, defensive end Nick Perry, tailback Marc Tyler, tight end/fullback Rhett Ellison, linebacker Chris Galippo and defensive tackles DaJohn Harris and Christian Tupou.

The events each player will participate in at the combine is yet to be determined, as some may wait to take part in events -- such as the 40-yard dash or three-cone drill -- at USC's Pro Day, which is scheduled for March 7.

Top questions entering spring practice 

January, 13, 2012
George UkoChris Williams/Icon SMIRedshirt freshman George Uko showed flashes of potential in 2011 and suddenly becomes the veteran presence for the Trojans at defensive tackle.

LOS ANGELES -- With off season workouts starting this week and with spring practices just a couple months away, let's take an early look at the biggest issues the Trojans will face during spring practice.

Defensive Tackle

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Kennard on deck to replace Nick Perry 

January, 2, 2012
Devon KennardHarry How/Getty ImagesLook for junior defensive end Devon Kennard, who notched two sacks this season while rotating in as the third defensive end, to be the man USC depends on to replace Nick Perry.

LOS ANGELES -- With the middle of the Trojans defensive line graduating, it’s on the edge where USC was hoping it wouldn’t have to find a replacement until the end of next season.

But now that junior defensive end Nick Perry has declared for the NFL draft, Lane Kiffin has some decisions to make on who will fill the void left by the 6-foot-4, 265-pound, All-Pac-12 defensive end.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider