Rancho Cucamonga native Mark Perry helped bring Texas Christian University (TCU) to national prominence during the 2022 season. He helped the Horned Frogs secure a 13-2 overall record and earn a trip to the 2023 CFP National Championship.
Perry noted how communication and how they respond to challenges brought them success this year.
“Everybody really talks to each other, offensive linemen talk to defensive backs and different things like that,” Perry said. “I think that’s been really big and obviously just the way we respond to adversity has been big too.”
Perry played in all 15 games at the safety position, making 59 solo tackles and 84 total stops. He also made 6.5 tackles for a total loss of 12 yards and deflected two passes. During the National Championship, Perry made six total hits.
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While he competed hard on the field, he worked ardently in the classroom and earned a spot on the 2022 All-Big 12 Academic First Team. Perry noted how he takes pride in the honor.
“I wasn’t the best student in high school but once I got to college, I really started to figure things out,” he said. “It’s been big for me, especially not being the best student in high school and seeing the things I’ve been able to do.”
Balancing academics with athletics was something that he mastered through time. He noted how the most important thing is being organized.
“When I first got to college, I was so tired because you’re just up from sunup to sundown, like just always moving,” Perry said. “Now that I’m on year four, going into year five, it’s not as a shock to me.”
Perry is majoring in sociology with a minor in psychology. His favorite class was a psychology in counseling class he took in the fall of 2022.
“It was really interesting just talking about the different ways of how to help people, different strategies,” Perry said. “Being a student athlete, knowing the challenges that come along with mental health, and being a student athlete, I just want to be able to advertise for that.”
Perry spent three seasons with the Colorado Buffs before transferring to TCU. During his junior year, he paced the team with three interceptions. His 72 tackles would be the third-best of the team.
During his time at Colorado, Perry endured mental health issues. He noted how athletes will occasionally base their self-worth on their athletic performance.
“We weren’t the greatest football team,” Perry said about the Buffs. “It was hard to wake up every day and tell yourself you got to keep going forward, you got to keep working.”
Prior to college, Perry attended Etiwanta and Rancho Cucamonga high schools. As a senior, he helped the Rancho Cucamonga Cougars win a League Championship. His high school years taught him the importance of patience.
“Everything is not gonna come right away, how you want it to and obviously everything’s not always gonna go as planned,” Perry said. “I wasn’t the starter right away and I didn’t have all the offers out of high school right away.”