Buckeye Union High School quarterback Joseph “J.C.” Perez is re-defining the term, “big man on campus.” The senior (class of 2018) with the slight frame won’t be mistaken for Jack Miller, Jack Plummer, Spencer Rattler, Tyler Shough or any of the more high-profile QB prospects in-state, until you look at his big-game production under the Friday night lights in the far west Valley.
The modest 5-foot-10 (maybe), 160-pounder (unlikely) was a nightmare for defensive coordinators last fall, tallying close to 2,500 total yards and 32 touchdowns for the 8-3 Hawks who qualified for the 4A playoffs.
While his first varsity playing time occurred two years ago as a sophomore, his evolution behind center happened last spring.
“I’ve become a better passer than I was before,” he recently said to Sports360AZ.com. “I just kept getting better with my routes and timing with the receivers…trying to win more games. [Opponents] usually underestimate me because they see how small I am, but I try not to make that a factor and play as hard as I can.”
In addition to his 15 passing touchdowns, Buckeye junior QB Joseph Perez led the Hawks in rushing with 1,213 yards and 17 TDs. #dualthreat
— Gridiron Arizona (@gridironarizona) May 4, 2017
His drive to improve and toughness as an “undersized” quarterback sparks a maximum effort from his teammates who see Perez’s work ethic both on and off the field.
“At 5’10, 145 pounds or whatever the heck he is, you may not think highly [of him],” Buckeye head coach Kelley Moore said to Sports360AZ.com with a sheepish grin. “But you have to be careful. He’s one of the most competitive, spirited young men that I’ve coached.”
Perez’s competitive spirit also carries over to the baseball diamond where the catcher/infielder/pitcher is a .390 career hitter. As is the case with several two-sport prep athletes, certain characteristics and traits carry over from one athletic season to the next.
“Baseball helps me out mentally, keeps me more focused in the game. ” he said. “It helps me keep working [in football].”
While he loves to compete, away from athletics it’s a different story for the likable, soft-spoken Perez.
“He’s Cool Hand Luke,” Moore said flashing a bright smile when discussing his star quarterback around campus. “In order to find him, you have to go looking for him. He kind of the sly man on campus. He might be holding hands over here, he might be taking flowers to somebody over there. Maybe he’s treating his linemen to some burgers. He’s pretty savvy about what’s going on.”
Savvy on and off the field.
Sounds like a recipe for success for Perez and the Hawks.