Alabama football impresses its recruiting targets even after a loss, like the Crimson Tide's 41-38 defeat at Texas A&M last Saturday, but that in itself isn't as significant as who joins its 2022 class and how well it finishes.
Senior defensive lineman and Montgomery native Khurtiss Perry is one of those recruits who received a candid response from Tide coaches after the game.
"They didn't like how they played and they didn't like how they started off," Perry said. "Coaches said the guys didn't come in with the right mindset, and they gave up a bunch of big plays in the first half."
Meanwhile, the six days to follow have been about trimming the list of colleges in which Perry is most interested.
Today at 5 p.m. CT, the in-state defender announces his Top 5 list of finalists, and along with the Crimson Tide, other schools that could make the cut are Ohio State, Michigan, Auburn and Miami.
Perry, however, is impressionable to how direct all aspects of the Alabama football program run, all led by coach Nick Saban. And there's a certain element which isn't replicated anywhere else, either.
"It's different, getting to talk to a legend like Saban. Not a lot of people get to do that," the Pike Road High product said. "They're very disciplined. I feel like they like to compete as one unit, one group, one team, and I like that about them."
As for where the Tide staff sees Perry fitting into its scheme, defensive line coach Freddie Roach has explained various roles in which he would play at defensive tackle, defensive end and even an outside linebacker role playing the pass.
But each program views his abilities differently.
"Some see me as a three [defensive tackle], and some see me as a seven [outside linebacker], also," he said. "So it's all about how me and my family feel, and it's about somewhere that can give me a great education and make me better on and off the field."
Below is his SI All-American scouting report:
Vitals: 6'3", 265 pounds
School: Montgomery (Ala.) Pike Road
Recruiting: Considering Michigan, Alabama, Ohio State, Auburn, Miami, others
"Perry plays with fast twitch off the edge, but he will likely be moved inside at the next level. Fantastic change of direction. He can flip his hips when rushing from the edge, and blow up any puller to his side. Great feel for the way his opponent is trying to block him. He can work around anchored offensive lineman by feeling their weight, not by guessing. His motor is off the charts, and he’s got the D-line X factor: a great get-off. Good eyes to see pullers, yet exceedingly fast upfield when teams try to pin him with a crack block. Perry checks all the most important defensive line boxes with his high-performance motor, elite quickness, and powerful punch at the point of attack. Good feet that do not stop chopping when he's engaged. We're very excited to see the senior season development out of Perry as well as where he will suit up at the next level."