Ed “Pi Double i” Henderson
Luis Perez, the former quarterback from Texas A&M University-Commerce, is signing with the Los Angeles Rams as a UDFA per sources. The bizarreness of this story, this kid never played quarterback, in fact never played one down of high school football. The coaches wanted him to play receiver, he agreed, but he also bowled in a league, football conflicted with his bowling as it caused him to be late to his league games. So, therefore, he decided to walk away from football to bowl, something that he did well scoring 12 perfect games throughout his young career.
In a live interview, Perez told his story on how the urge of playing football again entered his mind. As the story continued, he admitted he never attended any football games while in high school until the last game of the season. At that point, when he seen his former teammates come walking out the locker room to enter the field, he had to desire to play the game again. (Watch Interview)
Luis Perez Live Interview
After graduating from high school, he walked on locally at Southwestern Junior College to play football. He visited the head football coach and told the coach that he like to try out for the team. He told the coach he never played high school football, the coach chuckled but gave him the opportunity to compete.
When practices started, he was ninth on the depth chart as a quarterback, but he continued to work hard as it paid off of him becoming the teams starter. The hard work of becoming didn’t pay stop there, it started to show on film that attracted four-year universities coaches attention.
The 6’3” 220 pound Perez received a scholarship to play football at Texas A&M Commerce. Commerce a small town in East Texas, completely different from where Perez grew up in the beautiful city of Chula Vista, CA. He knew he needed to make the best of his opportunity because he was there for two purposes, getting his degree and playing football.
Luis Perez Highlights
His first season at TAMC, the first accomplishment he achieved was breaking the school’s single total touchdown passes. He lead his Commerce team to the D-II playoff semifinals, in which they lost the game. Perez threw for 312 yards but also threw three interceptions in the loss. He earned first-team all-conference status, and was nominated for the Harlon Hill Trophy (awarded to the Division II College Football Player of the Year).
The lost frustrated him so much, that he and his wife drove some 500 miles to watch the Division II championship game in Kansas City, Kansas. He was determined to get better, and wanted to how it felt to be in a championship element. The Perez sat through a veritable blizzard with a wind chill of minus-seven and it frankly wasn’t the most exciting game in the annals of football: Northwest Missouri State 29, North Alabama 07. Brenda tapped out in the third quarter, and the price for them going was Luis doing a week’s worth of dishes, he said, but in his mind it was all worth it. (LOL)
In Perez senior year he accomplished just what he vowed to do just one year ago. He was awarded the Harlon Hill Trophy, as he increased his junior year of 3,326 passing yards to 4,999; and from 32 passes to 46 touchdown passes. Yes, the unlimited goal after sitting through a blizzard with his wife, and having to do a week worth of dishes, lead his Lions to the national championship. TAMC defeated a tough West Florida team 37-27. Perez completed 23-of-30 passes for 323 yards against a West Florida defense that was stingy allowing fewer than 200 pass yards per game and 6.5 yards an attempts on the year.
Division II Championship Game
Perez has been compared to the Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers when playing on the filed because of because of his patience and awareness. He sits in the pocket to scan the field for the open receiver, can extend the pocket to buy time or take off running for positive yardage.
If you were to view the championship game video above, at 4:13 into the game, his pocket collapses forcing him to scramble to his left. Preventing a sack, he was able to extend the play and alertly tosses the ball out of bounds avoiding a grounding penalty. His display of intelligence identified him as an unselfish quarterback that move on to the game without negative yardage.
Perez has a high chance of joining the Rams training camp with an opportunity to win a roster spot. Rams currently have Jared Goff and Sean Mannion on the roster, and Brandon Allen not released from the injured reserve since being placed on it last season.
Mannion has the longest tenure of the quarterbacks enters the final year of his rookie contract. Mannion hasn't played up to the expectations of a quarterback typically drafted in the third round but played above average in the pre-season.
Provided if Perez can come in and play well in pre-season and outshines Mannion, you can potentially see Les Snead trading or releasing Mannion to save just under a $1M under the salary cap. The road Perez has taken in efforts of having the opportunity of making an NFL roster was quite bizarre, but he's an inspirational story for many that had faced challenges of succeeding to the next level.