The 2022 East West Shrine Bowl was played on Thursday evening and it gave potential NFL incomers the opportunity to put their talents on display for pro scouts. One player in particular, however, shined brighter than the rest. EJ Perry, the former Brown quarterback, lit up the stat sheet and, in spite of his team’s losing effort, came away with the game’s Offensive MVP honors.
Perry had a tremendous collegiate career with the Bears despite only playing two seasons (2019 and 2021) with the team. In those two years he threw for nearly 6,000 total yards and 45 touchdowns. He ran for another 1,129 yards and 15 scores. Such efforts earned him the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year honors last fall. Perry, though, showed on Thursday that his success may very well go beyond the college level.
Playing against the West all stars, Perry completed 13 of his 18 pass attempts for 241 yards and had three touchdowns. With the East trailing by 19 midway through the third, he had perhaps his best play of the night. Perry completed an FCS-to-FCS connection when he hit South Dakota State running back Pierre Strong Jr. for a 65-yard score. The play gave his team a much-needed spark that ignited the comeback bid.
In the fourth quarter, Perry led the offense down the field on a lengthy 88-yard scoring drive. He hit Nebraska (and former Montana) receiver Samori Toure for a touchdown. It was the first of two touchdowns he would have with Toure on the game and the second one made things interesting. The East ultimately came up short but Perry’s efforts were enough to win him Offensive MVP.
Perry is now the second FCS quarterback to claim MVP honors in a showcase game this offseason. Southeast Louisiana signal caller Cole Kelley did so in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl last Saturday.
“I just wanted to come here and get better,” said Perry after the game. “They set up an amazing game. We got to learn all week from NFL coaches... it was an unbelievable learning experience and I’m fortunate for that.”