Former Tigers come together for VooDoo

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON Voodoo defensive lineman Marlon Favorite runs a footwork drill during practice at the Superdome on June 19, 2013.
Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON Voodoo defensive lineman Marlon Favorite runs a footwork drill during practice at the Superdome on June 19, 2013.

Defensive lineman Marlon Favorite wants his Arena Football League experience with the New Orleans VooDoo to mirror his tenure at LSU.

Passion, camaraderie and chemistry is what Favorite said transformed the Tigers into a college football powerhouse in recent years, something the former Shaw High School standout said can happen with the VooDoo.

Favorite is one of four former LSU players on the VooDoo roster entering 2014 training camp.

Practices, which are open to the public, started Wednesday at Pan American Stadium. The VooDoo opens the regular season March 14 at the Tampa Bay Storm. The home opener is March 29 against the Cleveland Gladiators at the Smoothie King Center.

Favorite (2005-08) is joined by former Tigers teammates in receiver Skyler Green (2002-05), anf AFL newcomers Josh Downs (2009-12 at LSU), a defensive lineman, and quarterback Ryan Perrilloux (2006-07).

“We’re in the family,” said Favorite, now in his third season with the VooDoo. “We (all) didn’t spend time at LSU together, but we kept up with the young guys coming up and they learned from us to keep up the (winning) tradition.”

The league emphasizes teams signing local talent, which can create marketing opportunities. Downs is from Monroe and played at Bastrop; Green, who was born in Houma, was a top recruit at Higgins in Westwego; Favorite played at Shaw and West Jefferson. Perrilloux, a LaPlace native, starred at East St. John.

The VooDoo is coming off an injury ravaged 5-13 campaign last season in which it lost eight of their first nine games before a late-season playoff push fell short.

Favorite finished last season with 25 tackles, the most in the league for a nose guard. He also had six sacks, his most productive season in the league. Green, a former fourth-round selection of the Dallas Cowboys, is back with the VooDoo after stepping away from football in 2013.

Green, who won a national championship with LSU in 2003, was the VooDoo’s third-leading receiver in 2011 and finished 2012 with five catches for 84 yards and one score in four games. He stepped away from football for 2013.

“It all started at one place, and now, we’re all back together,” Green said of joining his former LSU teammates. “It’s something that can be a blessing.

“We’ve all learned the tradition of winning, the fact of working hard and what it takes to be successful. ... Once we get together on this football team, we’re going to do one thing, and that’s win.”

Downs was a four-year contributor on LSU’s defensive line.

Perrilloux experienced a mixture of ups (MVP of the SEC Championship Game in 2007, helping LSU reach the BCS National Championship game) and downs (run-ins with police and school, that caused him to be dismissed from the team in May 2008).

Perrilloux transferred to Jacksonville State, playing two seasons. He spent the following summer in minicamp with the Minnesota Vikings before playing one season in the now-defunct United Football League and later, the Florida Tarpons of the United Indoor Football League. He also spent two seasons on the New York Giants practice squad, earning a Super Bowl XLVI ring.

Perrilloux spent last season playing in the CFL with the Calgary Stampeders.

“When I chose to come to the VooDoo, that was based on (head) coach (Pat) O’Hara being a quarterback guru and the players that they have,” he said.

“Guys that understand what I’m about. I’m coming here to win football games.”

Perrilloux is expected to challenge incumbent Kurt Rocco, who struggled last season but is just two years removed from a franchise-record campaign of 5,317 passing yards and 107 touchdowns.