Overview
Peria Jerry is a defensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons, who selected him with the 24th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Jerry played at the University of Mississippi for four seasons, and completed his college career with an All-America senior season. Jerry is 6-feet, 2-inches tall and weighs 290 pounds. His first name is pronounced pa-RAY.
Prep Career
Jerry's football career began at South Panola High School in Batesville, MS. He finished his career at South Panola with 255 tackles and 16 sacks, and helped lead his team to a Class 5A state championship in 2003. He signed with Ole Miss in February of 2004. However, his grades were not good enough to qualify under NCAA standards, so he spent a year at Hargrave Military Academy. While playing for Hargrave in 2004, he totaled 30 tackles and five sacks. Scout.com rated him as the No. 40 defensive tackle prospect in the nation, and Rivals.com ranked him No. 15 overall among prep school prospects.
Freshman Year
As a true freshman in 2005, Jerry missed the first four games of the season, but saw action in six of Ole Miss's last seven games. He finished the season with three total tackles, his only solo tackle coming in the annual Egg Bowl rivalry game with Mississippi State.
Sophomore Year
In 2006, Jerry moved from defensive tackle to defensive end, and became a starter. He ended up starting at end, tackle and nose tackle, but missed four games with assorted injuries. His breakout game came in the second game of the season, a road loss at Missouri. He finished the game with a career-high six total tackles and his first career sack. Jerry finished his sophomore season with 22 total tackles in eight games.
Junior Year
Jerry started all 12 games at defensive tackle during his junior season, and his 3.5 sacks ranked second on the team. Jerry set a new career high with eight total tackles and 3.0 tackles for loss in a loss to Georgia. In October of 2007, Jerry recorded a sack in three straight games, losses to Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn. A week later, his sack streak ended, but he recorded his first career interception in a win against Northwestern State. He finished the season with 58 total tackles, and earned second team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press.
Senior Year
Jerry's senior season saw him double his sack total to 7.0, while playing in 12 of Ole Miss's 13 games. He missed the season opener against Memphis and was held without a tackle the next week in a loss at Wake Forest. Jerry recorded at least two tackles in each of Ole Miss's last 11 games, setting a season-high with seven total tackles in a loss to then-No. 4 Alabama. A week later he set a career-high with 2.0 sacks against Arkansas earning SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Jerry also recorded 2.0 sacks in a 45-0 shutout win over Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. Jerry capped off his career with two tackles and 1.0 sacks in Ole Miss's Cotton Bowl win over Texas Tech. Jerry was a first team All-SEC selection and a first team All-America selection by the Associated Press.
NFL Career
Peria Jerry was selected in the first round (24th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. One day before the start of training camp, Jerry signed a five-year/$13.25M contract with $7.55M in guaranteed money.

In the second game of the 2009 season, Jerry suffered an injury to his right knee, forcing him to miss the remainder of the season.
Personal
Jerry's brother, John, is an offensive lineman at Ole Miss. He has two cousins, Eddie Strong and Dwayne Rudd, who played in the NFL. He also has two other cousins, Toward Sanford and Jamarca Sanford, who played football for Ole Miss. Another cousin, Derek Pegues, was an All-SEC selection at Mississippi State.
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