FAU Football: Quarterback N’Kosi Perry prepares for ending of college career

N’Kosi Perry hopes to extend his career to the professional level once his six-year collegiate career comes to a close at FAU.


Nicholas Windfelder

N’kosi Perry catching the snap for their next play against FIU on Nov. 12, 2022.

Kevin Garcia, Staff Writer

After six years of playing in college, graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry is less than a week away from what could potentially be his final game behind center for the Florida Atlantic University Owls. He will set his sights on the 2023 NFL Draft with hopes of extending his career in the pros. 

Competition was at the roots of his love for football, as he fell in love with the competition from arcade games with his brother to youth sports. High school football came easy to Perry thanks to playing ball in the neighborhood with his older brother and friends.

“For me, I have always been super competitive, whether it was foosball, table tennis or basketball, I just always wanted to be the best,” said Perry. “When I started playing football with some of my friends, I also started playing with my older brother, he’s six years older than me. I think when I got to play with people my age it was a lot easier for me.”

The journey was not always a smooth one for Perry, from being a four-star recruit and one of the nation’s top 10 quarterbacks to spending most of his time at Miami as a backup. Perry finally found a home in Boca Raton when he successfully completed his transfer to FAU in 2021.

Perry is arguably the most talented high school player to ever play quarterback at FAU. In his junior year at Vanguard High School in Ocala, Fla., he totaled 42 touchdowns with over 2,000 passing yards. The following year, he was named the FHSAA 6A Player of the Year, which led him to rank 84th on the final ESPN300 rankings in 2017.

N’Kosi Perry waits for the snap on Oct. 29, 2022. (Erika Fletcher)

Edwin Farmer, Perry’s head football coach at Vanguard, saw something special in him from early on and wanted to be a guide in his life. Farmer spoke to The Athletic in 2019 about being a father figure for Perry, whose father was not around much while growing up.

“We played basketball together almost every day. We’d lift weights all the time. That kid didn’t really have that father figure there every day. So I was one of those guys there for him all the time,” Farmer told The Athletic.

Perry was a great leader at Vanguard. He was seen hyping up the team in pregame huddles and holding players accountable for mistakes, something still seen today as a member of the Owls. Things could not have been more opposite after Perry was thrust into the spotlight at Miami. Now, a young kid playing for a national program, he was prone to mistakes on and off the field.

After spending his first year as a redshirt freshman in 2017, Perry headed into the 2018 season as the Hurricanes’ backup quarterback behind then-senior Malik Rosier. He made his first appearance off the bench in a 77-0 rout of Savannah State and threw for three touchdowns and one interception.

Perry won the starting job following a game-saving performance against the FIU Panthers, but lost it a few games later against Virginia. Farmer believed that Coach Mark Richt did not have the proper hand over Perry and set his confidence back after the benching.

“You could tell he was enjoying the spotlight – especially after the Florida State game. I thought that was tough for him,” Farmer told The Athletic. “Could it have brought a lot of it on? Yeah, it’s a possibility. But I think now that Coach Manny Diaz is doing the right thing. That’s all that was needed.”

What ensued after the benching was numerous moments of immaturity for Perry, particularly an inappropriate video posted on his snapchat that ultimately led fans and executives at Miami to lose faith in Perry. He made just nine starts in 33 games with the Hurricanes and saw game action in five games in 2020 as a backup.

Perry watched as freshman quarterback Jarren Williams won the starting job heading into 2019; a role which he would keep throughout Perry’s tenure. It was then he knew if he wanted to be a starting quarterback, he’d have to attend college elsewhere.

Ultimately, when choosing his new school, two factors were important to Perry: staying close to his girlfriend and child, and playing for a coach with the experience and credentials of head coach Willie Taggart.

“When I was leaving Miami, I had a few schools that wanted me but I like South Florida. I knew that I had a child that was living in South Florida and my girlfriend was still attending the University of Miami, so I knew I didn’t want to go too far away from my child,” Perry said. “Talking with [Taggart], I felt that I could trust him. I felt like he would put me in a position to be successful.”

N’kosi Perry congratulating Zuberi Mobley after his touchdown catch on Sep. 10, 2022.
(Jaden Wiston)

Upon landing Perry, some within FAU and its fans were hopeful he would help turn around the football program. However, that has not exactly been the case and there are a number of uncontrollable factors that contributed.

Perry was unable to have a full off-season with his new squad in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and conflicts with the transfer portal. The Owls finished with an overall record of 5-7 that year, losing four consecutive games to end the season.

This year, the Owls sit at 5-6 following a road loss against Middle Tennessee. They must win their season finale at home against Western Kentucky on Nov. 26 to clinch bowl eligibility.

Taggart acknowledged there were some growing pains for Perry last season and that the quarterback has done a better job of fitting into the scheme so far this year.

“Well, he just has a better understanding of everything now, and last year he was trying to learn his teammates, get to know his team,” says Taggart. “Now he doesn’t have to learn anybody, he’s more comfortable from that standpoint and then just the amount of time that you put into football, I think that helps tremendously.”

Thus far in 2022 Perry has thrown for 2,428 yards, 23 touchdowns and five interceptions for a quarterback rating of 137.91. His best performance of the season came when he threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-9 win against Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 10.

Perry will look to lead his team to a bowl game for the first time since the Montgomery Bowl in December 2020. If the Owls do make a bowl game, Perry will have an opportunity to end his college career on a high note.

The young quarterback wants to fulfill his end goal of making it to the NFL after this season, although he says he has not started the draft process yet. Staying in the film and weight room will be key for Perry in staying prepared if an NFL team were to come calling next spring.

There is a real possibility that Perry does not make it to the NFL, as it is important for athletes to have a backup plan in case their future does not pan out the way they expect. Perry’s plan involves the technology industry, as he obtained his MBA in criminal justice at FAU.

“I definitely plan on going to play for a lot more years of my life but if I don’t, I want to get into cybersecurity because I have a criminal justice degree,” Perry said.

Kevin Garcia is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email him @[email protected], or tweet him @kevingar658.