Christian Perez didn’t see his first scholarship offer coming.
Perez, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound sophomore quarterback at O’Fallon (Ill.) High School, wasn’t even in school on Friday when an assistant coach from Jackson State came by to talk with him.
“The coach came up to my school,” Perez said. “I didn’t have school today, actually. I was doing community service work. The coach called my head coach, Coach (Brandon) Joggerst, and he told him he wanted to come talk to me. I was doing community work at the school. He saw me and we talked. … He gave me the news that he wanted to offer me.”
Perez wasn’t expecting it.
“I was really shocked,” he said. “I didn’t see it coming. I was just really blessed and really happy. Today was a really good day for me.”
Perez already knows some about the Tigers, who have been recruiting the St. Louis area for years.
“I know a little bit about the program,” Perez said. “I know a couple of the players. I know a receiver down there named Dan Williams. I know a receiver at Althoff who is committed there, Keenen Young. They are a pretty good program.”
Jackson State’s current roster includes quarterback LaMontiez Ivy and wide receiver Daniel Williams, both of whom are products of nearby East St. Louis High School.
Perez, who said he will be going Elite 11 camp in Chicago, has received some early recruiting attention, which should pick up even more now that he’s received his first offer.
He said he’s received interest from Purdue, Northwestern and Western Michigan, which recently visited his high school. He was in touch with the old coaching staff at Illinois but hasn’t had contact with the Illini since Lovie Smith took over in Champaign.
In 2015, his first season starting for the Panthers’ varsity squad, Perez completed 37 percent of his passes for 489 yards, with seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions. O’Fallon went 5-5 overall and 5-2 in the rugged Southwestern Conference.
Working is he working at to get better?
“With my trainer, Coach E.J. (Jones) at Next Level Performance, we’re working on my speed and basically my overall dual-threat abilities,” Perez said. “I’m trying to become faster, stronger and at Next Level Speed Performance that’s what we do.”