The world of college football is strange and ever changing. Malcolm Perry became a national news story last season when he was literally pulled out of the stands to get into uniform when Navy played Fordham. While it sounds like either a scene from a movie or something that would have happened back in the 1920s, Perry was pulled from the stands in 2016 after quarterback Tago Smith went down in the second quarter of the Mids game against Fordham.
This situation forced backup Will Worth into the game, but left Navy with no option to replace Worth if he got hurt. Third-stringer Zach Abey was suspended for the game and with the triple-option seeing the quarterback go into contact so much (increasing the risk of injury) a decision needed to be made.
That decision saw the Naval Academy Prep School product leave the stands, get dressed into his playing uniform, and even enter the game in the third quarter of the Mids 52-16 rout of Fordham. Perry rushed for 30 yards on seven carries and led Navy on a 90-yard drive that produced a field goal. After this Perry would appear in just two other games as the 5-foot-9, 185 pounder was behind both Worth and the reinstated Abey on the depth chart.
In 2017, however, Perry may see greatly increased playing time, but at a different position. It has been announced that Ken Niumatalolo has moved the Tennessee native to slotback from quarterback, in large part due to what happened with Smith. Having sat behind Keenan Reynolds for the best part of three full seasons, Smith was elevated to the starting quarterback role for his senior season. He lasted just one quarter before a season-ending knee injury, and then the Naval Academy Administration’s decision to make him graduate with his class, saw his career end.
This is what Niumatalolo had to say:
“I don’t want to make the same mistake I did with Tago. I feel like I screwed that kid. He could have played all those years, could have been on the field,” Niumatalolo said. “I made the decision to keep him on the sideline because I felt he was too valuable as the backup quarterback. That reasoning came back to bite us.”
Perry has all the attributes to be an outstanding slotback, but he is also the Mids second best quarterback. This really does seem like the right decision because any long-term injury to Abey could easily see Perry slide back into the quarterback slot. This game is all about getting your best players on the field and Niumatalolo seems to have