ORLANDO -- Just saw University of Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman with the other Hurricanes at the Russell Athletic Bowl's community service trip to Give Kids The World Village, a 70-acre theme-park-type village where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families spend a week.
Wonderful, inspiring place. The Hurricanes -- and Louisville Cardinals -- were having a great time interracting with the children and their families, doing everything from hula-hooping to playing life-sized checkers (Curtis Porter was a blast playing checkers with an outgoing little girl) to lifting them for some fancy slam-dunking to dancing to a DJ.
It was great to see the players in a nonfootball setting having so much fun and being genuinely sweet to the kids.
"We put smiles on kids' faces,'' said UM junior linebacker Denzel Perryman. "We just made somebody's days. I have a kid of my own."
Perryman's daughter is Ella Grace Perryman, born Nov. 12. He said he's learned from fatherhood "that you don't get that much sleep and pretty much you just have got to change diapers and have a nice little schedule of rotating.''
And of course we asked him about his status as a Hurricane and if he has made up his mind about whether to enter the NFL Draft after this game.
"I really haven't thought about that,'' Perryman said. "I sat down with [linebackers] coach [Micheal] Barrow, but I"m going to wait until literally after the bowl game to really sit down and think about all that. I'm going to wait a little.
"I really haven't been thinking about that at all.
"It allows me to focus in and continue to do what I have to do. I don't want to make that decision, i'm going to leave and then my whole attitude changes towards the bowl game."
Perryman said that when he, and other like him, first come in the thought is often that they are going to play three years and then automatically leave. But now that he's facing that decision, he said it's much harder than he ever imagined.
"In past seasons, when you first come in you always have that thought, 'I'm going to be three-and-out; I'm going to be three-and-done.' And the decision comes for you to make it, it's kind of tough.
"When you first come in you're like , 'I'm going to leave, it's going to be easy.' but when you get in that situiatno, it's like 'wow. you know, like, this decision can change my life pretty much.''
Does everyone ask him whether he's going to leave early?
"I get it a lot,'' Perryman said. "When people see me out, even my own family asks me what i'm doing."
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
what do you tell them? like, I honetstly don't know.