On the eve of the XFL draft, the Quarterback Selection Show aired live on XFL.com and YouTube, where the Vegas Vipers revealed their two quarterbacks heading into the 2023 season, both of which were in the XFL in 2020 and at one point were both on the same team. Fast forward nearly three years later, and Luis Perez and Jalan McClendon are headlining as the first two players of the brand-new Vegas Vipers.
Luis Perez shocks fans as he jumps ship from USFL
It comes as no surprise that just 5 months ago, Luis Perez was busy spending his time as a Quarterback for the New Jersey Generals in the USFL, and now has jumped ships over to the XFL like an old episode of the WWF and WCW Monday Night Wars in the ’90s that saw wrestlers jumping ship to the competitor, Perez including Kyle Sloter have made this jump with possibly more coming after the new year is a first of its kind in the Spring Football atmosphere as there haven’t been two leagues actively running.
While Head Coach Rod Woodson was not present during the selection show, Marc Ross, executive vice president of football operations, brought both men on stage for the introduction and didn’t say much other than exciting Vegas and that the Vipers are looking to follow in the steps of the Vegas Aces. We are still waiting on a statement from Coach Woodson about Jalan McClendon and Luis Perez.
Jalan McClendon – North Carolina State / Baylor
Jalan McClendon played his senior year of football in the BIG 12 as starting quarterback for Baylor in 9 games, completing 55 out of 91 attempts for 715 yards with 3 touchdowns and three interceptions. he would also rush for 34 attempts for 102 yards for 2 touchdowns. McClendon would go on to be signed as an undrafted free agent to the Baltimore Ravens and then be cut before making the team; he would then be marked with the Washington Redskins but didn’t make the team either 2019. Fast forward a couple of months, and he would sign on with the Los Angeles Wildcat and play in the opening game against the Houston Roughnecks, completing 1 pass out of 4 attempts, which was an interception. McClendon looks to get quality playing time with the Vegas Vipers this upcoming season to restart his career.
Luis Perez – Southwestern / Texas A&M-Commerce
Luis Perez, as mentioned earlier, is no stranger to spring football and, at this point, should be called the King of Spring Football because just over the past 4 years, Luis has been a part of the AAF (Birmingham Iron), XFL 2020 (Los Angeles Wildcat and New York Guardians), USFL 2022 (New Jersey Generals), and now resigned into the XFL for XFL 3.0. With his quarterback experience, I think Luis has a great shot at becoming the Vegas Vipers starter for the 2023 season, but time will tell. Luis started his pro career in the NFL in 2018 when he was invited to the LA Rams mini-camp and would sign as an undrafted free agent in May 2018. He would get his first taste of pro football in the Rams’ final preseason game again the New Orleans Saints.
As time progressed, he would be drafted in the AAF to the Birmingham Iron, finishing the season before the league folded with 1,460 passing yards, 5 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. In the XFL in 2020, he would end up paying for the Guardians finishing the season when the league shut down due to the pandemic with 56 completions out of 94 attempts for 7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Perez would go on to play in the USFL this past spring and throw the first-ever USFL touchdown during the opening night against the Birmingham Stallions, where he would throw 13-18 completions for 143 yards and two touchdowns. He would play in another game and come in and throw a walk-off touchdown drive with a quarterback sneak with:02 seconds left on the clock.
Who will start on opening weekend?
We all may be wondering which of these two men will get the start on opening weekend and if I had to be a gambling man in Vegas, I’d have to go with Luis Perez, his storybook history with spring football and being pretty primed and ready to go from playing in the USFL would make me believe that he will be started. Still, Jalan could impress the coaching staff enough to win that starting quarterback position; only time will tell.
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