Meet the Bulldog: David Perales representing the Valley with tattoo

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- One of the breakout players on the Fresno State defensive is junior lineman David Perales.

But as great as his play - his time at Fresno State almost didn't happen.

"I kind of had to overcome adversity because I really didn't have any offers or anything like that," he said.

After four years at Merced High - Perales suited up in the North/South all-star game. What he thought at the time could be his final time putting on the pads.

"I was like, 'If I do good in this game, I'll give it one more shot and I'll go to a JC and try and play football.'"

On the first play of the game - Perales returned a fumble for a touchdown. He'd finish the game with three sacks.

He kept the faith and stayed home at Merced College before finally getting his first offer to play at Sacramento State.

After the Hornets had a coaching overhaul - Perales took another leap of faith by entering the transfer portal. From there, he got a call from Jeff Tedford.

"One thing led to another, Tedford liked my film and he ended up offering me a scholarship," he said.

Suddenly, David was suiting up in the uniform and representing the team that he grew up watching.

"My whole family is huge Raider fans, so just Derek Carr representing the Valley like that and Bulldog football, I really didn't think I would have the opportunity to play here and I still can't believe that I'm playing here," he said.

Taking full advantage of that opportunity - in the one game where fans were allowed in against UNLV inside Allegiant Stadium, Perales put on a show for his family.

"I'm very proud of the boy in whatever uniform he wears," says father Arturo Perales. "It was just a bonus for us because we're all Raider fans and my son's playing here and they won and he has a caused fumble. It was a great game."

Instead - in a season unlike any other - Perales is making the most of his one opportunity and repping the Valley every step of the way.

"To play football at this level and go to school for free is a blessing, and I'm very thankful for this school and that's really the main reason why I've got the Valley on my arm," David said.
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