Joshua Perry is a physical linebacker who has produced high-end tackle numbers over the last two years at Ohio State. Perry is a noted leader on the field and in the locker room. He’s a winner who is willing to do the dirty work and played the role of thumper on a loaded Ohio State team. I had the pleasure of speaking with Josh about his preparation for the upcoming 2016 NFL season:
Jay: Preparing for the NFL draft has got to be extremely nerve wracking and quite different than your typical job interview. What was is like from a preparation stand point?
Josh: You know what Jay- it’s true that it’s definitely nerve wracking but the truth is it’s actually really similar to any interview. Like everything else, it’s all about knowing the product, which in my case was the knowledge of football, being confident in your skills and putting your best foot forward.
Jay: Are there elements aside from skill that teams look for when drafting a player?
Josh: Absolutely, and I’d say talent is only half the answer. To succeed in the NFL or anywhere for that matter you’ve got to be a tremendous competitor, you’ve got to be an excellent teammate and a hard worker. In fact there are always other players at the combine and the scouts always try to ask those players for information because they know players will always tell it like it is. So you’ve got to have an excellent reputation as well.
Jay: Now you’ll be going into the NFL almost like a freshman in college looking to prove your worth. What’s that transition like and what’s your mindset going in?
Josh: Like anything else the transitions are always tough and the main thing is for me to remember the hard work it took to get me here and continue to work hard and perfect my craft. So many times we see successful people and all we see is the final product but not the process. But with a closer look you’ll see that the people who are most successful are process oriented. They pay close attention to detail and they love the grind. The truth is we all have the same 40 hour work week, it’s the successful people who use all 40 hours.
Jay: What’s your routine to keeping yourself in shape over the off season?
Josh: To succeed at such a high level like in the NFL you have to have an uncompromising work ethic. It takes a lot of discipline to make sure you never fall behind especially in the off season. I get up every morning at about 5:15 in the morning and immediately start my work out routine. I run, lift weights, take part in practice drills and don’t get home till around 4-7 at night depending on the day. In my opinion, it’s simple. If you want to succeed you’ve got to work extremely hard- at all times!
Jay: Who was your role model and favorite player growing up?
Josh: You know what Jay, this is going to sound shocking, but growing up I didn’t really watch pro football. Between playing little league games on Sunday and then playing college games on Saturday there really wasn’t much time for anything else. My idol was always my Dad. For years I watched him work hard and he was always honest. Another point that was very important to me was that he always had the right balance between working as hard as he could but at the same time always making sure he allocated plenty of time for his family. I’m looking forward to the upcoming NFL season where you can be sure I’ll be working as hard as I can and using every minute of my time to work on my game and perfect my craft!
Perry gained respect from Big Ten coaches for his play as a senior, garnering first team All-Big Ten notice with 105 tackles, 7.5 for loss and three sacks. He also received honors for his leadership and character, being named an all-state AFCA All-Good Works Team member, as well as a finalist for the Lott IMPACT, Senior CLASS Award, and the Wuerffel Trophy. The Buckeyes’ leading tackler in 2014 (124, 8.5 for loss, three sacks) earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in his second year as a starter (he had 64 tackles, two for loss the previous year). Though not a highly recruited player like many on head coach Urban Meyer’s squad, Perry’s list of national honors speaks volumes about his willingness to do what it takes to get the job done.