FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (WWBT)- Every program has pivotal moments. To find one for the UVA football team, one must rewind to early 2018. Virginia was coming off of its first bowl appearance under Bronco Mendenhall, a blowout loss to Navy, when a transfer quarterback came along and changed everything.
When Mendenhall first approached Bryce Perkins about coming to UVA, the quarterback had never set foot in the state of Virginia. He says it rains about twice a year in his native Arizona, so there was obviously an adjustment period.
“It took time for me to get out of the cold stage and all the snow and get used to the rain,” joked Perkins on Saturday.
The now-senior quarterback said that it was after spring football his first year in Charlottesville when he really felt like Virginia was the place for him and credits his teammates for making him feel comfortable. He certainly made the necessary adjustment, while also making his name synonymous with a successful turnaround of a program.
“I wanted to break records, I wanted to win, I wanted to make this team one of the teams that was talked about, and I think that’s exactly what we’ve done."
”Bryce has been a program-changer," added wide receiver Joe Reed. “Some guys are game-changers, but he has changed a program. He’s a great leader, he’s very poised in the huddle, he’s an even better friend.”
Perkins will leave the program as the team record holder in a number of categories. He’s set Cavalier records in career rushing yards by a quarterback (1,668), single-season total yards (3,960), single-season touchdowns (34), single-season passing yards (3,215), and single-game total offense (490). But through it all, it was always important to him to do things the right way.
“Not being one of those guys and not having one of those records that, you know, you’re breaking it but you’re losing, or you’re breaking it but you’re not having fun, or the guys don’t like you, or you’re not a team guy” Perkins said. “All the records are because of the people that I’m around.”
Those people recognize what he’s meant to the program on and off the field."He’s a magician in my eyes," remarked senior wide receiver Hasise Dubois. “In some instances, a different quarterback, he’d probably be sacked and the play would be over, but Bryce, you never know. He’s always breaking tackles and extending plays."
”I love those guys and I play every game for those guys," added Perkins. “I go out there and always try to not let my teammates down and always want them to know that every time I go out there on that field, you’re going to get the best of me.”
Win or lose in Monday’s Orange Bowl, Perkins has cemented himself as one of the best quarterbacks in UVA history, and has helped create a legacy that he and his teammates will remember and celebrate for years to come.
“We can talk about the good times that we had and the success that we had as a team, as a 2019 team, and it’s always going to be a part of us, a part of who we are.”
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