Malcolm Perry adds name to list of Navy football Silver Helmet Award winners
By BILL WAGNER | The Capital | Published: February 4, 2020
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Tribune News Service) — Malcolm Perry has collected some impressive accolades over the course of his collegiate career.
However, there was one notable honor that had eluded one of the greatest players in Navy football history.
Others that have earned that all-time great designation — Joe Bellino, Roger Staubach, Chet Moeller and Napoleon McCallum — are all past winners of the prestigious Silver Helmet Award.
Later this month, Perry can check that box and join the exclusive club when he is presented with the Tony Rubino Silver Helmet Award as Navy’s most outstanding player. He will be officially recognized on Feb. 20 during the 66th annual Touchdown Club of Annapolis football awards dinner.
Staubach, Moeller and Reynolds were both three-time Silver Helmet Award recipients, while Bellino and McCallum were both two-time winners.
Perry deserved to have his name on that prestigious list, even if just once. The 5-9, 190-pound speedster put together strong seasons as a sophomore and junior, but the Silver Helmet Award was won by linebacker D.J. Palmore (2017) and safety Sean Williams (2018) those years.
“Coming here and hearing about all the legends of Navy football like Joe Bellino, Roger Staubach, Napoleon McCallum and Keenan Reynolds … to be put in the same conversation with any of them is a tremendous honor and very humbling,” Perry said in early December.
Future players will now include Perry in that list of legends as his name is etched all over the Navy record book. This past season, Perry set the Football Bowl Subdivision record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 2,017. That figure was also a single-season school record, shattering the previous mark of 1,587 yards established by McCallum way back in 1983.
Perry amassed 4,359 career rushing yards, which ranks second in Navy history behind Reynolds (4,559 from 2012-2015). The Tennessee native also set the single-season school record for total offense with 3,101 combined yards rushing and passing.
Perry also joined Reynolds as the only players in Navy history to rush for 1,000 yards or more in three different seasons. He led the country in explosive runs (20 yards or more) this past season with 26 and set another single-season school record by rushing for 100 yards or more in 11 of 13 games.
Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper used the word “astounding” to describe the spectacular statistics posted by Perry during the 2019 season and over the course of his career.
“It’s been fun to watch Malcolm perform for the past four years,” Jasper said prior to the Army-Navy game. “Malcolm is a very, very gifted athlete and has done some amazing things in his time here.”
Head coach Ken Niumatalolo has called Perry the “most dynamic runner” to suit up for the Midshipmen during his 22 years as a member of the staff. Perry primarily played slotback as a sophomore, although he ran wild in two cameo appearances at quarterback. As a junior, Perry started five games at quarterback before being switched back to slot.
Niumatalolo would later admit that decision was a mistake and apologized to Perry while promising he would remain the starting quarterback throughout the 2019 campaign regardless of what transpired. Niumatalolo and Jasper then tailored the offense to suit Perry’s strengths.
“I’m so grateful we handed the keys to the offense to Malcolm. He took them and literally ran with them,” Niumatalolo said. “With the guidance and tutelage of Coach Jasper, Malcolm has groomed himself into becoming one of the best quarterbacks that’s ever come through here."
Niumatalolo repeatedly praised Perry for leading by example through extraordinary hard work and dedication.
“What I’ve been most impressed with is the way Malcolm has led our team — with quiet confidence and tremendous work ethic,” Niumatalolo said. “When the best player on the team never lets up, it forces everyone else to practice and play at a higher level.”
Perry will be joined on the podium at the Touchdown Club of Annapolis football awards banquet by Maryland running back Javon Leake, who will receive the Louis L. Goldstein Gold Helmet as the University of Maryland’s most outstanding player.
What: 66th annual Touchdown Club of Annapolis football awards banquet
When: February 20 (6:30 p.m.)
Where: DoubleTree Hotel, Annapolis
Honorees: Malcolm Perry, Navy (Silver Helmet), Javon Leake, Maryland (Gold Helmet), David Foust, South River (Rhodes Trophy), Jahmeer Carter, Spalding (Laramore Award), South River High (Mears Trophy), Mike Newton, Brooklyn Park Broncos (DePasquale Award).
Tickets: $65, visit annapolisTDclub.com