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Meet The Best Quarterback You’ve Never Heard Of

He never played a down of varsity football. Now he’s a pro football legend.

The story of XFL Champion and MVP Luis Perez, the best QB you've never heard of
Credit-XFL/Arlington Renegades/Joker Mag

Luis Perez never played a single down of varsity football in high school.

In fact, he stopped playing the sport altogether after seeing little action as a JV player.

Instead, he got pretty good at a different sport – bowling.  And for a short time, he considered seriously pursuing it.

But one night changed everything.

In his senior year of high school, Luis’ friends invited him to watch the final football game of the season.

Watching the game as a fan, he came to a harsh realization.

“I almost shed a tear just from being up there in the stands, looking down, watching everybody run out of the tunnel,” Perez said in a 2018 interview.

“Looking to my left and my right…I just knew I didn’t belong in the stands.  It’s really a hard feeling to understand…but I knew at that moment that I had to pursue the NFL.  I had to.”

So he started researching how to play quarterback.

He watched YouTube videos to learn the basics and sought out coaches who were more than willing to help.

“I mean I knew nothing about playing quarterback…all I knew was I could throw a football,” he said.

“I didn’t know fronts, I didn’t know coverages, I didn’t know how to take a five-step drop, I mean I didn’t know any of that stuff.”

He trained hard, gaining more confidence each day.  But when he walked on at Southwestern Community College – a local JUCO – Perez faced another roadblock.

Head coach Ed Carberry advised him to switch positions.

According to Carberry, quarterback probably wasn’t the best fit.

But Perez refused.

Instead, he accepted the challenge of starting as the 9th of 9 QBs on the depth chart.

“It motivated me,” Perez said. “My goal is to be an NFL quarterback, so it made me realize that I had to make moves to improve my game tremendously.”

Throughout that summer, Luis put in the work.  He kept his head down as other players switched positions, got hurt, or transferred out.

Eventually, he worked his way into the backup role.  Then, in the middle of the season, their starter went down.

Perez finally got his shot.

In his first start, he threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score.

Despite next to no experience playing competitive football, he put together a flawless first game at the college level.

It was a testament to his work ethic – and his hunger to learn and grow.

“After practice, he would have a couple of guys running routes,” said SWC receivers coach Anuyell Goodwin.

“If there were routes he felt like he did not hit on point in practice, he would work those routes after practice.”

A broken leg ended his first season after just three games.  But he came back stronger the next year, leading Southwestern to a conference championship.

That’s when he started attracting attention from bigger programs.

With a few offers to choose from, he settled on Division II Texas A&M University-Commerce.

In two seasons there, he threw for 8,327 yards and 78 touchdowns.

In his senior year, he won the Harlon Hill Trophy – awarded to the best player in D2 football – after throwing for 5,001 yards and 46 touchdowns.

And he capped it off by leading his team to a national championship.

“That is why you work out every day,” Perez said.

“That’s why you do all the running, getting under that squat rack, and you keep pushing after it hurts. It is all for that one moment.”

Despite the accolades, Luis Perez was not selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.

But a few weeks later, the Rams signed him as an undrafted free agent.

He made it through several rounds of cuts until the Rams released him after the final game of the preseason.

After bouncing around a few NFL practice squads, he competed in almost every spring football league that’s popped up since 2019:

  • The Alliance of American Football
  • The XFL 2.0
  • The Spring League
  • The USFL
  • The XFL 3.0

He’s the only quarterback to win games in each of those leagues.

In 2023, he landed in the newly rebooted XFL – opening the season for the Vegas Vipers.

But six games into the season, Vegas traded him to the Arlington Renegades for a linebacker.

Once again, Perez proved the doubters wrong.

He turned the lowly Renegades into a playoff team.

“He’s a galvanizing guy,” said head coach Bob Stoops. “He really brought the team together.  He’s a natural true leader.”

Perez erupted in the playoffs, throwing for 577 yards and 6 touchdowns, and leading Arlington to an upset victory in the XFL Championship.

“Don’t give up,” he said, as the confetti rained down.  “Keep your faith, stay grounded, and just keep going.”

But the NFL still lingers in his mind.

And Luis Perez is doing everything in his power to earn another chance at his dream.

“I’ve been so close,” Perez said.

“If that’s my dream and aspiration, why would I ever quit when I’m that close? Quitting is not even a thought. Like, it’s not even an option for me.”

Here are a few more football stories you might like:

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Written By

Division III baseball alum (McDaniel College) and founder of Joker Mag. Sharing underdog stories to inspire the next generation.

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