College Sports

Former Navy quarterback Perry Olsen headed to North Alabama, cites issues with OC Ivin Jasper

Quarterback Perry Olsen, shown running against BYU in September, has transferred from Navy to North Alabama.

Former Navy quarterback Perry Olsen has found a new home at the Football Championship Subdivision level.

Olsen announced via Twitter on Wednesday that he has committed to continue his football career at North Alabama of the Big South Conference.


Olsen said North Alabama began recruiting him ardently since shortly after he entered the transfer portal on Sept. 11. Assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Colby Ellis was persistent in his pursuit on behalf of the quarterback on behalf of Lions.

“North Alabama showed a lot of belief in me,” Olsen said. “I’m excited about this opportunity and am going to try to make the most out of it. I just want to get out there and play football again.”


Olsen has three seasons of eligibility and has been cleared to play next fall. He is moving from a triple-option offense at Navy to more of a pro-style attack with run-pass-option elements at North Alabama.

Olsen was the backup behind Malcolm Perry throughout the 2019 season and made appearances in eight contests. The Oklahoma native replaced Perry midway through the third quarter during a blowout loss to Notre Dame and directed two touchdown drives. He threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mychal Cooper and scored himself on a 2-yard keeper.

Olsen entered August training camp atop the depth chart but was overtaken by senior Dalen Morris one week into padded practices. Morris started the season opener against BYU and played one half of an eventual 55-3 rout. Olsen took over in the second half and did not fare much better, although he did break loose for a 31-yard gain off a scramble.

According to Olsen, freshman Xavier Arline began taking the first team repetitions at quarterback during practice the following week. Morris became the backup and Olsen said he received no reps.

Following one practice, Olsen said wide receivers coach Mick Yokitis approached him about switching positions. Olsen responded that he was not ready to give up on becoming a starting quarterback that early in his collegiate career.

Olsen withdrew from the Naval Academy three weeks into the fall semester because he was taking difficult courses and did not want to risk hurting his overall grade point average. He enrolled at Northeast Oklahoma A&M, a junior college located about three hours from his hometown of Yukon.

Olsen made that decision in hopes of gaining experience and getting game tape running a conventional offense. Several Division I schools that contacted Olsen about transferring expressed reservations about whether he could transition from operating a triple-option system.

Olsen also wanted to play alongside his younger brother, who was already at Northeast Oklahoma A&M. Owen Olsen, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound tight end, was originally a Navy football recruit and attended the Naval Academy Prep School.


Northeast Oklahoma A&M played its football season during the spring, and Olsen had hoped to compete for the starting quarterback job. However, the National Junior College Athletic Association considers the fall and spring one season and Olsen was therefore ineligible because he had played in a game for Navy.

“I was told you can’t compete for two teams in the same year,” he said.

Navy offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ivin Jasper personally recruited Olsen out of Yukon High. Olsen attended the Naval Academy Prep School and was the starter among a quarterback group that included Jordan Cooper, Christian Perez and Brice Johnson.

None of the other three made it to the Naval Academy. Perez now plays quarterback at Southeast Missouri State, while Johnson is a wide receiver at Mississippi.

Olsen maintained close contact with Jasper while at the prep school and said he was very supportive. However, Olsen felt their relationship deteriorated after he arrived in Annapolis for plebe summer.

“Coach Jasper and I did not have a good relationship during my time at Navy,” Olsen said. “I don’t feel coach Jasper really believed in me. I never felt support or encouragement.”


Olsen said he initially considered leaving the Naval Academy after learning that wide receiver Chance Warren had been moved to quarterback to compete for the starting spot.

“That was the biggest slap in the face. To be in competition for the starting job with a player who has never been a quarterback was very discouraging,” he said. “That tells me you don’t believe in me or trust me.”

Navy football canceled spring practice, so Warren got a late start on the transition. About a week into August training camp, Warren was switched to slotback.

When the Warren experiment did not work out, the coaching staff elevated Morris into the starting role.

After falling to third on the depth chart following the season opener, Olsen said he had a long talk with coach Ken Niumatalolo, who supported Jasper’s decision with regard to the quarterback situation.

“That is when I decided to enter the transfer portal,” Olsen said. “Coach Jasper made it clear he was done with me playing quarterback at Navy.”


Jasper acknowledged that Olsen expressed some concerns about their relationship while at Navy. He was surprised to learn that he was the main reason Olsen left Navy.

“Perry and I discussed that at length while he was here. I didn’t understand it then and I still don’t understand it,” Jasper said. “I thought we had reconciled everything, but apparently that’s not the case. I’m not sure where those feelings come from.”

Jasper did say he had issues with Olsen’s decision-making on the field and made it clear that was a big reason he was not the starting quarterback.

“As a coach, you have to trust your players to make the right decisions on the field. If you can’t do that, you need to tell the player that is the case,” Jasper said. “Perry is a great kid and I wish him all the best moving forward.”

Niumatalolo has worked alongside Jasper for more than two decades at Navy and has complete faith in his ability to coach the quarterbacks. He noted there can only be one starting quarterback and that makes for a difficult situation for those that are backups.

Some of Navy’s most successful quarterbacks, dating back to the days of Craig Candeto and Ricky Dobbs to the record-setting Keenan Reynolds and Malcolm Perry, have praised Jasper.


“I think Ivin’s done a great job over the years of managing the quarterbacks over the years,” Niumatalolo said. “I’m happy that Perry landed somewhere, and I wish him the best of luck.”