Peria Jerry

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 30, 2008

Rebel tackle Jerry hits hard

By Angie Ledbetter

There is no question about how hard Ole Miss senior defensive tackle Peria Jerry plays the game from start to finish. Jerry enters his third year as the starting tackle and is expected to help make the defensive front very productive this season at 290 pounds and standing 6-2.

Head Coach Houston Nutt referred to him as the motor and the speed that he wanted for the team.

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“I have gotten a lot faster and stronger,” said Jerry. “I’ve trimmed up a little bit and I’m looking forward to a great season.”

He is ranked as the nation’s fifth best defensive tackle and ranked sixth in the SEC in tackles-for-loss with 14.0.

The Associated Press and named him Second Team All-SEC and he was named to the Preseason All-SEC first team by Lindy’s. Phil Steele named him Preseason All-America fourth team and All-SEC second team and Athlon named him All-SEC third team.

The Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy list did not leave him off either. Jerry received the Jeff Hamm Memorial Award for most improved defensive player from spring drills.

“I really haven’t looked into all the preseason stuff and didn’t know what I was up for,” said Jerry. “I’m just trying to get better and just go out and play.”

Jerry said being a senior is great.

“It came quickly and I tell the younger guys that. I think everybody looks up to the seniors and we’re the ones that showed them the way to go. I’m going to hate leaving but when your time comes, it just comes.”

Some advice Jerry would give a younger player coming in is to stay focused, be a great student athlete, and go to school.

“You have got to go to school to play football and that’s one of the biggest things,” said Jerry.

Jerry talked about his relationship with seniors Jamarca Sanford and Derek Pegues with whom he played football with at South Panola.

“We’re real close. On our breaks we all go home and work out a little bit and just play around some. It’s a great thing that all of us are coming out at the same time and it’s going to be big for the community of Batesville.”

The new coaching staff has brought a lot to the table according to Jerry, that they have the answer for.

“I think that we’re going to be pretty solid at it.”

His expectations for the Rebels this season are to just go out, win and have fun.

“Every Saturday is anybody’s game. We’re the under dogs and we’re trying to turn the tables.”

Jerry talked about younger brother, John, who is also on the team.

“I think it’s been a great experience to play with him. It has been good for our family because they can watch both of us play on Saturdays at the same time. They don’t have to go here one weekend and somewhere else the next weekend.”

On leaving South Panola, Jerry  said he felt that anywhere he went he should win.

“We always won there and I felt like I could help Ole Miss get to that point.”

He hopes South Panola can keep the winning streak and state championship going.