Today is a great day to wish happy birthday to a Michigan Wolverine named Chris Perry. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Raymond Christopher “Chris” Perry was born on this day in Advance, North Carolina. He grew up to be an excellent football player. Perry played some great football at Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Virginia. After high school, he had plenty of offers to play college football. However, Chris decided to head north and play for Lloyd Carr and his Michigan Wolverines.
Chris arrived in Ann Arbor in 2000. He carried the ball in nine games and averaged 5.4 yards per carry (77 carries/417 net yards). Perry earned his first letter on a Michigan team that went 9-3-0 and earned a share of the Big Ten Championship (6-2-0). Of course, he earned his first varsity letter in 2000.
Perry posted more carries in 2001 (129) and increased his yardage to 485 for the season. However, his yards per carry average dipped to a career-low 3.8 yards per touch. He also scored 2 touchdowns. Unfortunately, Michigan slipped a little bit that year too. The Wolverines finished the season with an overall record of 8 wins and 4 losses and finished in second place with another record of 6 wins and 2 losses.
Chris Perry returned for his third season in 2002 and he was ready for a BIG YEAR! He started eleven games at tailback and averaged about 100 rushing yards per game. Perry finished the season with 1,110 yards on 267 carries for an average of 4.2 yards per carry. The good news was that he helped Michigan post a record of 10 wins and 3 losses. The bad news was that the Wolverines ended the season in third place in the Big Ten with their fourth consecutive six-win conference season (6-2-0). Chris earned his third varsity letter for his excellent play in 2002.
The durable Perry returned for his final season in 2003. Fortunately, he saved his best for last! Chris rushed 338 times for a total of 1,674 net yards in his senior year. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry and scored 18 touchdowns. His outstanding play helped the Wolverines to another ten-win season (10-3-0), More importantly, he helped Michigan earn a share of the Big Ten Championship.
Chris ran like one of the best backs in the country in 2003 – that’s for sure. In fact, he won the Doak Walker Award (Nation’s Best Back), won the Big Ten rushing title, earned All-Conference honors and consensus All-American honors as well. He also placed fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Chris was named Michigan’s team Most Valuable Player and earned the same title for the Big Ten.
Yes, Chris Perry had a great season in 2003. He finished career with 3,696 net yards and 39 rushing touchdowns. In addition to his individual and team accomplishments, Chris is also connected to some interesting football “firsts” at Michigan:
· Chris Perry played in the first ever game against Bowling Green State University in 2000. (A 42-7 win). In that game, Perry became one of only a handful of Michigan freshman running backs to rush for over 100-yards in their first game. He converted 10 carries into 103 yards and scored his first touchdown too!
· Perry played in the first games ever games against Florida and Utah in 2002. (Both wins!)
· Chris Perry played on the first Michigan team to win the Outback Bowl on January 1, 2003 when the Wolverines defeated Florida 38-30.
· Perry became the first, and only, Wolverine running back to carry the ball 51 times in a 27-20 win over MSU. (He rushed for a total of 219 yards and scored one touchdown in that huge win.
· Chris Perry ended his career with another record. He is also the first, and only, Michigan back to carry the ball 338-times in one season. Yes, he was a sledge hammer in 2003. He just kept pounding away at the opponent’s defensive lines. It was one of the greatest seasons any Michigan running back has ever put in the books!
So, today is a good day to remember the outstanding Michigan Football career of Chris Perry. He was a record setting player who gave his all to Michigan. Thank you, Chris Perry for your contributions to the great history that is Michigan Football. I hope you have a very happy birthday today! Go Blue! Enjoy the Wolverine Historian’s video tribute to Chris Perry
Note: For more information on Chris Perry’s NFL career check out the first link below.