Luis Perez. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams

Luis Perez became the first player in Los Angeles Wildcats history when league officials assigned the Chula Vista native to the team preceding last week’s XFL Draft.

“I am so excited to be the quarterback of the L.A. Wildcats,” Perez said. “This is an amazing opportunity to play the game that I love and be close to my family and friends across Southern California.”

Perez graduated from Otay Ranch High School in Chula Vista, but didn’t play on its varsity football team. He quit because coaches frequently changed his positions.

Perez began the 2013 season as the ninth of nine quarterbacks on the depth chart at Southwestern College. Despite that start, he took over as quarterback in the third game of the season after injuries knocked out two others. A leg injury sidelined him, but he started about half the season.

He became an all-conference selection in his second year at Southwestern, then transferred to Texas A&M-Commerce. He led the team to the 2017 NCAA Division II championship and received the Hill Trophy as the top Division II player.

Perez, a former Los Angeles Rams practice squad quarterback, signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He played in their final preseason game, completing eight of 15 passes for 43 yards with one interception in a loss to the New Orleans Saints.

The team cut him before the start of the regular season. He played on the practice squad in September.

Perez started at quarterback for the Birmingham Iron of the short-lived Alliance of American Football earlier this year. He also spent a month with the Philadelphia Eagles in the spring, and five days with the Detroit Lions in August.

The draft concluded Wednesday, with the Wildcats also drafting former San Diego Charger kicker Nick Novak.

Novak kicked for the Chargers from 2011-2014, and also in seven games in 2017 after their move to Los Angeles.

He kicked for the Birmingham Iron of the AAF earlier this year. He made a 44-yard field goal as time expired to give the Iron a 32-29 victory over the San Diego Fleet at SDCCU Stadium.

The league’s eight teams selected from a pool of approximately 1,000 players.  XFL teams will add to their rosters with a supplemental draft at the end of November. Those players were initially ineligible either because they are on NFL rosters or playing college football.

The Wildcats will open their season in February. They will play their home games at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson.

– City News Service

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