By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The grin McNary High School grad Perry Groves gets when you ask him what he’s most excited about in regard to his future as a Portland State University linebacker is infectious.
“I’m really excited for everything,” Groves, who plans to study mechanical engineering, said. “I wanted to find a good school that I could enjoy and fit into first.”
He found the atmosphere around the football team matched the general feel of the campus.
“Right off the bat, I saw the close connection between all the players on the team and wanted to be part of it,” Groves said.
Groves signed on to play for the Vikings earlier this year after a three-sport career as a Celtic in football, swimming and track and field.
“Perry is one of the most phenomenal athletes to come through this school, and one of his goals this year was to make the Groves name proud. He’s done a fabulous job of that,” said Isaac Parker, McNary head football coach.
On the gridiron, Groves has been a presence on the varsity defensive line since his freshman year, but he became one of the team’s leaders as an upperclassman.
“Perry inspired the team. Everyone felt like they had a chance to win because we had Perry on the field,” said Parker.
Lester Towns, an assistant coach and recruitment coordinator for PSU, said he first met Groves when he took part in the Northwest Elite camp and said he’s excited to work with him.
“He has the size that I’m looking for at linebacker,” Towns said. “It’s hard to find a linebacker that is his size and that can move. He is very athletic, and I think he can play multiple positions.”
Towns said Groves’ first priority will be earning his degree, but he’s not shy about his expectations on the field.
“I see Perry developing into a top linebacker for PSU. As far as how soon that will happen, it is up to Perry and the commitment and dedication he puts into it. I believe in him and expect it to happen early in his career. Just Keep an eye out for No. 56,” Towns said.