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Perry Carries The Load

Perry Carries The LoadTufts sophomore and football player Alex Perry stepped in last season when a teammate was injured. This year, as a starter, he plans to step up his game.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [09.24.07] When Tufts' starting strong safety Bryan McDavitt sprained his ankle in the first football game of last season, then-freshman Alex Perry ran onto the field to take his place. By the end of the game, he had an interception and the possible beginnings of a legacy in hand.

"I just kind of stepped in, tried to do as best I could, tried to make an impact, tried to show the coaches why I should be out there," he told The Boston Globe. "It was definitely nerve-racking, but awesome, a lot of fun."

Perry received NESCAC Rookie of the Week honors for his performance in that first game, which also included five tackles and a half-sack. "He brings a mature presence to the field and wasn't rattled about suddenly going into the game," Tufts defensive coordinator John Walsh said at the time. "Instead, he became a key contributor to a good overall effort by our defense."

Perry was second in his class at Danvers (Mass.) High School, where he captained the basketball, baseball and football teams and won Defensive Player of the Year honors in his conference for football. He also comes from a football family, and Tufts football coach Bill Samko thinks that heritage manifests itself on the field.

"I think that's genetic, to be honest with you," Samko told the Globe. "He conceptually understands the game, and he should. He's been around the game all his life."

When McDavitt returned last season, Perry yielded the starting spot to him but still tallied a team-high four interceptions and tied for fourth on the team in total tackles with 35. In this weekend's season-opening 24-7 road win over Hamilton, Perry started at strong safety, logging four tackles.

"I'm seeing things better, picking up things better, making calls quicker," Perry told the Globe. "It just makes me more relaxed on the field, more ready. Ready on the snap to go make a play."

Perry, an economics major, came to Tufts because of the ability to balance his desire to play football with his educational goals.

"I wanted to focus on academics and play athletics at the same time," he told WBZ's "Sports Profile" segment last year. "That's the main reason I came out to Tufts. Obviously, academics are extremely important to me."

Perry also spent last year as a backup catcher on Tufts' baseball team, pressed into the starting role for the NESCAC championship due to injuries. In the game, which Tufts lost, Perry was 3-for-3 with two runs batted in.

"He's a winner," Samko told the Globe. "If all goes right, he'll walk out of here with eight [varsity] letters and be a fairly storied athlete in this place."

But Perry understands that football is not a game of individual accolades: it's a collective effort.

"I just like how football is such a team game," he told WBZ. "For football, you have to rely on every single person to do well to be successful on the field."

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