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N'Kosi Perry prepares to end 6-year journey that took him from Miami Hurricanes to FAU Owls

The Palm Beach Post logo The Palm Beach Post 8/5/2022 Zach Weinberger
N'Kosi Perry, preparing for his final season at FAU, says he's much more comfortable. © FAU photo N'Kosi Perry, preparing for his final season at FAU, says he's much more comfortable.

BOCA RATON — When it comes to Florida Atlantic football, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before the season opener on Aug. 27 against Charlotte. 

However, fans can feel safe about who the starting quarterback will be; N’Kosi Perry will be under center once again, barring injury.

In what will be his final go-round at the collegiate level, Perry is ready to have his best year yet in his sixth season.

“Obviously this is my last season of college, but to me, this is my most important year because prior, it was my first year of where I started from the first game to the very last, so now I just want to show that I think I'm capable of doing that again, but at a high and successful rate,” Perry told The Palm Beach Post. “We're going to win games this year. That's all we're focusing on. And I want to show not only our fans but the whole world that's what we are going to do.”

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Perry was at the University of Miami for three seasons. As a redshirt freshman, he played in 11 games and made six starts, providing a spark for the Hurricanes. One of the highlights of his Miami career was leading a comeback against Florida State, throwing four touchdowns in a 28-27 win in 2018. 

Relegated to a backup role at UM, the former Ocala Vanguard standout saw the opportunity to come to FAU to be the starter under head coach Willie Taggart. He came in last year but missed spring camp. While he started every game, it was an up-and-down season.

Entering 2022 and working through his first spring, Perry said he feels much more comfortable.

“I wasn't here for the main part of the offseason last year. So when I came in for training camp, it was the very beginning for me and I didn't want to step on guys’ toes," he said. "I didn't want guys to feel like I'm just coming in and telling them what to do without them actually seeing me put the work in myself.” 

Throughout the offseason, Taggart has spoken about the leadership transformation Perry has gone through.

“When you can have your quarterback in back-to-back seasons, it doesn't get any better than that. I'm really excited about that," Taggart said. "Seeing the growth of N’Kosi this offseason is night and day since the time he got here. When he’s like that, everybody else is going to follow him.

“I see him in the office every day and he always has another player with him to come up and watch film, and that was totally different from what we've seen around here, but it’s made our football team better.”

Perry said he took the offseason very differently this time around and talked about bringing in players to watch film.

“It started at some point last year. As soon as the season ended, my approach to this offseason was totally different than any other year,” Perry said.

New offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon working with Perry

Last season, Perry threw for 2,771 yards, 20 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He performed at a high level early, but he and the rest of the offense stalled toward the end as the Owls finished on a four-game losing streak, missing out on a bowl game. 

New offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon said it has been exciting to watch Perry work in practice and shared what the coaching staff has been telling Perry.

“N’Kosi’s biggest thing that we're stressing is him being a leader," Dearmon said. "He is trying to set a record for the most years of being in college football with this COVID role and he’s in year six, and when you're in college six years, you gotta start stepping up and you got to be a leader more often.

“He knows all the coverages, he knows concepts, so the biggest thing is pushing the others. You know what you're doing now, you know where your eyes are supposed to be, now push the other team around, and he’s been doing it.”

Perry acknowledged last season's inconsistency, but he said he wants to make sure the team keeps a level head throughout 2022.

“Take it day by day and make sure that we're all on the same page, because no matter whose fault it is just like a head coach or the quarterback, they’re going to get all the praise when you win and all the all the downfall when you lose, so make sure I keep a level head,” Perry said. “Don't get too high when we win and don't get too low if or when something negative happens. That's our biggest thing.

"How do we respond to adversity? That's what we're working on this year and so far, we responded well.”

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: N'Kosi Perry prepares to end 6-year journey that took him from Miami Hurricanes to FAU Owls

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