With Brad Lundblade going into his senior season, Oklahoma State will need a center for the 2018 season and preferably one with some experience. There are candidates on the current squad, but a junior college candidate may have emerged on Saturday in the Cowboys Junior College Camp.
There is proof that good things can come in smaller packages and that even applies to larger players on the football field. Oklahoma State offensive line coach Josh Henson was not a big offensive guard, in fact, he had walked on at Oklahoma State from Tuttle High School as a linebacker, but Pat Jones and his staff shuffled Henson to a needed spot on the offensive line and he eventually became an All-Big Eight performer weighing in at under 280 pounds. Current Cowboys center Brad Lundblade also walked on, undersized, but still around 285 pounds and he now weighs 295 pounds and is going to go down as four-year starter. He started one game as a true freshman walk-on and has started them all from his sophomore season on. One of the standouts on Saturday at Oklahoma State's first Junior College Camp was C.J. Perez and the 6-1 1/2, 275 pound center was impressive. He has excellent feet, snaps the ball and then gets back in his set, moves very quickly to mirror the inside defender and then ranges from keeping him occupied to just flat out walling him.
Perez told us he has an offer from Memphis, but intends to play at Butler this season unless he gets something he's really looking for. His father played at Kansas and was a starter at offensive tackle before being drafted in the fifth round by the Miami Dolphins. Chris Perez played three seasons in the NFL with Miami, New England, and Green Bay before playing six seasons in the Canadian Football League. C.J. says his quick and steady feet are passed down by his dad, but his father told us he never thought he moved quite as well as his son.
You have to like C.J. as he plays center and offensive line with a passion that is easy to pick up, even on a June day in a camp in Stillwater, Okla. In our research we found that he played tight end in high school at Shawnee Mission Northwest in Kansas. We also found a message he wrote in his Next College Student-Athlete profile that will get your attention as it says a lot about Perez and why you would always take him and anyone like him on your team.
"God, I love the lord. I love football," wrote Perez. "Football is the one thing I can escape to. I have always dreamed to play at the next level like my dad. My dad played LT at Kansas for his college career and then played a couple years in the NFL and CFL. My dad is my hero and he has made me such a strong man in life and on the field. He has taught me everything I know. Things on the field that really get me is I love to block. I find it to be the one thing that not many people wanna do, so that's why I enjoy doing it."
I have a feeling that whether it is Oklahoma State or Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, or somewhere else in the Big 12 that you will be seeing C.J. Perez blocking because it is something he enjoys and really feels is important and based on what we saw on Saturday, he's good at it.