The 50 most important college players in Texas in 2017 — No. 37: Texas A&M-Commerce’s Luis Perez
AS THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON EDGES CLOSER, WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE MOST PIVOTAL PLAYERS FOR EACH PROGRAM'S RESPECTIVE SUCCESS.
The importance of a player is not always defined by their skill level. The most important player on a team or in a unit is not always the best player on a team. This list is designed to breakdown the 50 most important players in Texas college football for the 2017 season. It is not a ranking of the 50 best college football players in the state. Importance can be defined by position, need, skill or leadership. We’ll count down the list through the summer, all the way to No. 1.
50 – Lamar DE Daniel Crosley / 49 – TCU WR KaVontae Turpin / 48 – UTEP QB Ryan Metz
47 – UMHB RB Markeith Miller / 46 – Sam Houston State DE PJ Hall / 45 – Baylor WR Blake Lynch
44 – Texas Tech WR Jonathan Giles (transferred) / 43 – Texas Tech RB Justin Stockton
42 – PVAMU WR Joshua Simmons / 41 – Rice RB Samuel Stewart / 40 – UNT WR Jalen Guyton
39 – Texas RB Chris Warren / 38 – Rice OL Trey Martin
Luis Perez has taken one of the most unique routes to success in college football among quarterbacks across the country. For starters, he didn’t play a snap of varsity football in high school. But after graduating from Otay Ranch High School in California, Perez decided to walk-on to the football team at Southwestern Community College as a quarterback. He redshirted as a freshman while getting the hang of things, but was thrown into the starting role the next season. Perez went on to throw for 1,846 yards and 18 touchdowns, catching the eye of several four-year programs across the country.
Eventually, Perez settled on Texas A&M-Commerce, where he sat out in 2015 before exploding onto the scene again last season. He earned a spot in Lions’ history, shattering the program record with 32 touchdown passes. Perez led the entire Lone Star Conference with 3,326 yards and helped carry the Lions to an average of just under 40 points per game.
To think that Perez has been playing quarterback at a high level for just a few years shows just how much room he still has to grow. His accuracy (62.7 completion percentage) is solid and Perez has shown the ability to take care of the ball after throwing just five interceptions in 389 attempts. He isn’t much of a dual-threat – but with his size (6-foot-3, 220 lbs.) and effectiveness in the pocket, he doesn’t need to be.
The Lions have steadily progressed up the ranks of the NCAA Division II, going from a 7-5 team in 2013 to tying the school record for wins after going 11-2 last season. Colby Carthel was hired as the head coach in 2013 and has quickly taken the program to new heights – largely due to the team’s success on offense. Perez is the latest in a line of prolific passers for Carthel, but he became the first quarterback to earn first-team all-LSC honors since 1996 and was also a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, which honors the DII player of the year. There is no question the explosive offense flows through his arm, and that won’t change this season as the Lions gun for their fourth consecutive LSC championship.
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Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.