The story of Luis Perez before the XFL is one that is unique to many due to his success in another sport which makes this a once-in-a-blue-moon success story.
Before Football, There Was Bowling
One aspect of Perez’s life that has been documented is his love for bowling and how good he was. At a young age, he bowled in competitions in three different states and even rolled 12 perfect games. Originally, there was a plan for him to go to college with a scholarship and even had an offer from Oklahoma to join their bowling team. Despite how good he was at bowling, his love for football has always been there for him.
High School/Early College Years
Perez’s football life started when he played receiver as a freshman in high school as well as junior varsity basketball. He would end up not playing varsity football in high school at all. His college career would begin without having any scholarship offers. Perez would use YouTube though to help him learn football to prepare him for college and beyond.
He would first walk on to Southwestern College where he wanted to play quarterback for the team. In his first season, Perez would not step on the field as he needed to get into football shape and learn behind the other quarterbacks. The next season would come, and he would once again have to compete with three other quarterbacks. He broke his leg that season and was back once again competing now with two quarterbacks for the job.
This time around though, he got his shot after one quarterback left the program and the other got injured. Perez made the most of his opportunity completing over 67 percent of his passes throwing for 1,846 yards with 18 touchdowns and only three interceptions. After being named all-conference, the offers started to flood in for him, and took his talents to the Division II school Texas A&M-Commerce.
In 2015, Perez redshirted in his year with Texas A&M-Commerce before winning the job in 2016. He would lead the school to a ten-win season, a Lone Star Conference title, and winning their first playoff game in Division II since 1991. The successful season was because of his performance where he finished throwing for 3,326 yards with 32 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Perez received first-team All-Conference honors as well as a Harlon Hill Award nomination and an honorable mention for All-American.
2017 would go even better for the Lions as the team nabbed another ten-win season, but this time won the Division II national championship. Perez was lights out throughout the season completing over 70 percent of his passes for 4,999 yards adding 46 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in the season. This time around, he won the Harlon Hill Award which is equivalent to Division I’s Heisman Trophy for the nation’s best player. Perez finished his career with a 22-3 record.
Perez’s NFL career began in 2018 when he went undrafted in the NFL Draft that year. He was invited to a rookie minicamp for the Los Angeles Rams and got signed from there. He would join the team in the training camp where he would be competing with three other quarterbacks for a roster spot with Jared Goff being the leader in the clubhouse. Rams head coach Sean McVay spoke very highly of Perez when he joined the team.
“He comes up to you, looks you in the eye, shakes your hand. You can see he’s got a command and a nice presence about himself. Everybody that I’ve talked to can’t say enough about the human being. But then when you just watch him in terms of a natural base, balance, body position to deliver the ball. He earned the right to be able to be on this team and carve himself out a role as far as being able to compete as a quarterback.”Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay via Los Angeles Times
After one preseason with the Rams, he was on the practice squad until September 18th when he was officially cut from the team. He would go on to have short stints with the Philadelphia Eagles, and Detroit Lions, and a second stop with the Rams. Perez has not played in an NFL regular season game as of this article being released.
Alternative Football Journey
Perez is more known for his career in the alternative football space where he has played in four different leagues during his career. His first stop was in the Alliance of American Football where he played for the Birmingham Iron where he was drafted by the team in the first round of the quarterback draft. He started in seven games throwing for 1,461 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions. Before the league folded in eight games, the Iron were 5-3 and clinched a spot in the postseason.
After two stops in the NFL, Perez joined the XFL in 2020 where he was assigned to the Los Angeles Wildcats. He would go on to be traded during training camp to the New York Guardians. Perez started as Matt McGloin’s backup until he started in week four and week five. He threw for 418 yards with three touchdowns and one interception before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the league.
He would step on the field again in The Spring League where he played for the Jousters in 2021. Perez threw for 655 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. His team would go on to win the Mega Bowl which is the league’s championship game.
His fourth league would be the USFL last year for the New Jersey Generals as came in as the starting quarterback for the team. He would lead the Generals to a 9-1 record completing over 71 percent of his passes for 1,200 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception. New Jersey would go on to lose to the Philadelphia Stars in the semi-finals of the USFL playoffs.
Second Stint in the XFL
Perez would make a return to the XFL for another season as he first joined the Vegas Vipers. Despite the team bringing in Brett Hundley, Perez was named the starter for the team. So far in the 2023 XFL season, he has thrown for 900 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions. He was recently traded to the Arlington Renegades after the team released Kyle Sloter.
One thing that is known about Perez is his ability to adapt to different offenses and use his skill set to help improve an offense. He’s always been great at protecting the football and being a top-of-a-line game manager. Perez is considered an alternative football legend for how well he has played in multiple leagues. His football career is fascinating to follow and one that will continue to add to his story for hopefully years to come.
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