By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Today's Q & A Session is with former LSU defensive tackle Marlon Favorite.. He played his high school football at both Shaw and West Jefferson before coming to LSU in 2004 during Nick Saban's final season as the Tigers head coach. For four season's he became a huge part of the Tigers dominating defensive front, highlighted by winning the 2007 national championship, 38-24 against Ohio State in the Super Dome.
Favorite had a six year pro football career, playing for several different NFL teams, (including the New Orleans Saints in 2009, earning a Super Bowl Ring), a couple of seasons in the UFL, and played for the New Orleans Voodoo in the Arena Football League.
Q - What is your favorite color?
Marlon - This isn't because I went to LSU, but my favorite color is purple. I rock purple, I like purple. I like Blue also. Blue is like my secondary color.
Q - What is your favorite food?
Marlon - My palate has changed over the years, but my ultimate go to meal is some pork-n-beans and sausage with the whole beef wieners and some rice under it of course, and some fried chicken....
Q - Favorite movie?
Marlon - That's a good one. I have so many favorites. If I had to pick one movie, I'd have to give it up to my brother Ice Cube in "Friday" as my favorite movie.... But I also like "Coming to America,"... I like "Dark Knight,"... I'm actually feature in "When the Game Stands Tall" with Jim Caviezel and Alex Ludwig, so you can put that on there.
Q - Who is your favorite actor?
Marlon - My favorite actor is Denzel Washington, who I had an opportunity to meet. His son John David Washington and I were teammates with the Sacramento Mountain Lions, so I got to meet Denzel a couple of times. That was cool. He is my favorite actor for sure.
Q - Who is your favorite music artist or group?
Marlon - Okay, number one would be Jay-Z, .... number two would be Lil Wayne.
Q - So I see you are from Gretna? Is that where you lived growing up until you left home for college?
Marlon - I was born in Gretna at Meadowcrest Hospital which is now Ochsner. So that's what is on my birth certificate. But I spent most of my life living in Harvey, and that's where I currently reside. So I've lived in Harvey, and a little time in Marrero as well.
I lived in Algiers for a good bit of my adult life. I'm a West Banker through and through. I had a business in Gretna, which I still have, called Conquer Sports Professionals, and I train in Gretna now. So Gretna is forever in my DNA.
Q - I see you attended both Shaw High School and West Jefferson High? Can you tell us a little about that?
Marlon - What happen was, I was at Shaw for my freshmen and sophomore years when they had a situation go down that Shaw was accused of receiving illegal financial aid. So I ended up attending West Jeff for my junior and senior years. I tell people all the time that I had the best of both worlds in high school. I still visit both Shaw as well as West Jeff. Those are my two schools for sure.
Q - When you were in high school did you play multiple sports?
Marlon - I did track and field, which is crazy because my son is throwing the javelin as well as playing football. I did do the shot put and threw the discus, and actualIy in my 8th grade year I played organized basketball one time.
Q - Would you like to tell us about any personal and/or team accomplishments that you're proud of in high school athletics?
Marlon - My high school experience was great. Going into my junior season was like a proving year. I tell high school students, even the kids that train with me now, that they really need to step it up and show your leadership in your junior year.
My junior year really set me up to be a preseason All-American, making All-District, All-State, called the State Prestigious Awards. My biggest experience with that was when the Army All-American Bowl came to my school, presenting me with a plaque and announced that I was going to be performing in their game..
Also being able to play with teammates who would go on to play in the NCAA and the NFL. With some guys who I went to LSU with, like Herman Johnson, Early Doucet, guys like that. Then I also had teammates like Ted Ginn and Adrian Peterson that really meant a lot to me.
It's a beautiful thing to get recognized for your accomplishments. USA Today had me as the number one defensive tackle in the country. That was a huge honor. Yea, high school was a great situation for me.
Q - Could you tell us about your recruiting process?
Marlon - Back then it was about VHS. Being able to have your tapes being floated around. I always tell these young kids about how much of an advantage they have because they can just have their film uploaded in Hudl. You can make your own highlights in Hudl, then basically do your own marketing.
Back then, we had to depend on coaches to have a taped made, get them out to some colleges to get you some looks. The technology today is so interesting and it's helps make a big difference in you getting recruited.
I remember going through the process, in my sophomore year, LSU and Florida both hit me up, so those were my first two letters. This is when I knew you get recruited, scouted, and offered off of potential. I remember being at my locker and getting these letters from LSU and Florida when I wasn't even in the starting lineup yet with teammates around me looking at them with me who were starters. During my freshmen and sophomore seasons at Shaw under coach Hank Tierney I was a second string guy who got to play a lot because I was so big. So they see you begin to develop when you get some snaps in meaningful games, especially when they can use your size.
From there in my junior season I had 10 and a half sacks and that's when you start filling up the shoe boxes. All these different colleges and teams are really big on mailing you letters. I had like ten shoe boxes of letters from all over the Country. It was great souvenirs to keep, but we lost them all in Katrina.
Spring time and during Track and Field a lot of scouts would come down to visit and that's when the offers would start to flow in.
I narrowed my decision down to Colorado, Miami, USC (Coach O was there and he was always
an outstanding recruiter), Oklahoma State (Les Miles was the head coach at the time), and of course LSU who had Nick Saban at the time.
Recruiting was a beautiful experience. The experience was priceless being able to go to San Antonio
and play in the Army All-American Bowl against all the other top talent from across the country and being able to take all of my visits.
Then landing at LSU, I couldn't have asked for better timing. They were just coming off of a national championship in 2003. These guys were just getting their Bowl rings and still had their Nokia phones. It was just good memories. Then later in my redshirt junior year being able to win another national championship, it was huge. I'm blessed and super thankful for my college experience.
What made you decide on LSU over all of the other schools who were after you?
Marlon - I think about that a lot. I think about when Pete Carrol called me with Ed Orgeron recruiting me, trying to get me to go out that way. Hearing from Larry Coker in Miami. I remember Vance Joseph who is now the defensive coordinator with the Arizona Cardinals, they had some familiarity both being Hank Tierney products, having the chance to go to Colorado. But ultimately LSU was a family thing. I'm 17 years old, from where it all started at, for you to have an opportunity and play for the biggest University in that State was overwhelming in itself. Coach Saban would tell me how much he liked me and that he wanted me to go there.
Skyler Green played a major role in that as well. Skyler along with Craig Davis, those were guys that I was cool with in high school who were over there. Dominic Cooper was another who played a role. He had always been a friend of mine who was there and we ended up being roommates.
But that time at LSU alone was priceless. I'm so glad I made the choice. Looking back at it at LSU, we had 5 stars, 4 stars, 3 stars, some of the best athletes in the country coming in. So I competed each year and I actually became a rotational starter their. I wouldn't have won games and got the recognition if I would have went to Colorado and that helped my NFL situation out.
If you would ask me if I had to go through the process again, would I still choose LSU, I definitely would. We won BCS championships, national championships, played in SEC championship games. I couldn't have asked for a better college experience.
Q - So after your redshirt freshmen year Nick Saban announces that he's leaving for the NFL. How did you and the team handle the coaching change with Saban's departure and Les Miles taking over?
Marlon - It was different. It was definitely different. Coach Saban would help us understand that in sports and life in general, it's business and you have to do what's best for you and your family. Still to this day Coach Saban says the biggest mistake he ever made was making the decision to leave LSU. It was a dream job of his and he really helped build the program to where it is now. He speaks about it and is honest about that entire situation.
But how it went down,... We were at the Bowl Game site. I don't know how long he knew his information. But when we in the locker room at halftime is when he made his announcement to us. That was the only Bowl game that I lost at LSU, (A 30-25 loss to Iowa in the Capital One Bowl),... Five years at LSU and that first season is the only Bowl loss we experienced. It really sunk the team. You know coach announces, "Oh, by the way this is my last game, I'll be moving on to the NFL." ..... So it was kind of like... "WOW".. But at the very end of the day we respected his decision.
Coach Saban always kept his word with us. For the rest of my time that I was at LSU, he kept in contact with us by sending us letters. When I went as an undrafted free agent to the Carolina Panthers he still reached out and congratulated me. He is a big character guy. But it was a crazy announcement.
Coach Miles coming in to replace Saban was a fortunate situation because Coach Miles was someone who recruited me out of high school so I knew him. That helped our relationship out a lot. I remember our first meeting, he told me, "Marlon, I'm looking to get you some playing time this year. you're going to have a great opportunity." For him to bring coach Karl Dunbar in, that was our best time. Coach Miles first year of coaching in terms of a defensive stand point was the best time. For the defensive linemen it was a dream house. The coaches we had were cut from the Pete Jenkins fabric cloth. They were very attention to detail and development of the D-Line, so I really appreciated that year more then anything else. So the adjustment was pretty cool.
Coach Miles really fit my personality more then Coach Saban did. I knew with Coach Saban that he was going to make me a really good football player and get me an opportunity. But he's straight forward with his talk. He doesn't like to do all the talking and the chatter. With Coach Miles, would have a conversation with you when we would speak. Miles suggested that me and my musical group perform at the Sugar Bowl and at the National Championship dinners. This was all his doing. He was that type of coach. He let his players be themselves, which I thought was cool. Practices were a little long, with us being out there for three and a half hours. But he is a great guy and we still keep in touch. I talk to him and his family a lot. Coach Miles is a solid cat.
Q - The 2007 season has to be the best of the five that you spent at LSU. Could you tell us a little about that year being the first two loss team to win a national championship?
Marlon - That 2007 season really started in 2006. Going down to Florida and having that one game basically decide if we would go to the national championship. We really won it in "07 for LaRon Landry, Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis, and JaMarcus Russell. Guys that were on that '06 team and should have won the national championship. Those guys should have won it. So we kind of went into that 2007 season knowing we were one of the better teams in the country. That was the swagger the entire year.
What I liked about that team, literally Glenn Dorsey was the biggest super star on that team. A guy on the d-line who didn't accept awards. Glenn was raw. That's really not a d-lineman thing anyway. That's more for the quarterbacks, and the shinning armor receivers, and devas.
That's the type of team we had. Then you had a two and three star guys like Lyle Hitt, a four star guy like Carnell Stewart. Brett Helms, Big Herman Johnson who was probably the only pro-style offensive lineman on that team. We didn't have any big time super stars. Glenn Dorsey and Ryan Perrilloux had to be the two biggest stars on that team. Ryan didn't even start. That's what I liked, you had guys like Early Doucet, Curtis Taylor, I could just keep going down the list. You had a running back corp mixed up with guys like Jacob Hester, Keiland Williams, and Charles Scott. Quinn Johnson at fullback.
Our defensive line was the big highlight. We were the ones getting all the attention. Desmond Howard came down to see us twice. At the end of '06, they were all talking about us being the #1 defensive line in the country. The magazine people were poising us for the next year. We were stacked. When they did our magazine cover, on the inside of the booklet they had to take the picture and give eight guys highlights. It was crazy. We always got that College Game Day spot all the time. I think that was the biggest difference between '07 and 2011 we didn't have real mega stars.
2007 was also the big introduction to the internet as well. The real internet with social networking influencing being a big deal. That '07 team really exemplified a team that had solid chemistry.
In the NFL imagine the Seattle Seahawks, that had guys there still on their rookie contracts making it to the Super Bowl. That's what our LSU team in '07 reminds me of. Great memories. It was one of those years that you just will never forget.
Q - Can you tell us a about your pro football career after your time at LSU came to an end?
Marlon - My rookie year in the NFL was the perfect example of the highs and the lows. You fight depression from being cut four times. I ended up getting cut a total of ten times. But that rookie year I got cut four times, the fifth time coming in New Orleans after the Super Bowl.
My wife's favorite place was in Carolina. She loved it there and wishes we could have stayed there. It's where she really wanted to be. I loved the city of Charlotte. Coming from the South being able to move out of your comfort zone and see different sights. We went to Tennessee, we went to Florida, went to Alabama, of course I went to Houston several times. I liked being being able to go to Carolina and live in that perfect combination between southern hospitality and that up north swagger, and it all meets up right there in Carolina. I liked my time there. Had good teammates. Last year at the Super Bowl I had to work with the NFL for the game, I saw a couple of old teammates from our rookie class. That was a time of great experience. I didn't get drafted, that was a bit sad. But playing for the Carolina Panthers, having the momentum I had there. If it wasn't for Mr. Richardson firing his grandkids and hiring Martin, I'd would probably still be in Carolina and may have been able to retire a Panther. I was starting at one point in Carolina. That rookie year was my best and biggest momentum of my NFL career. But from there I ended up going on a world tour.
Playing for New Orleans was kind of like a gift and a curse. The gift was being a part of the first Super Bowl win ever for the franchise on top of my national championship. You're at home. Everyone knows you. You're really growing up in your city, you're at that point. Then you learn the business side of things and it was tough to recover.
I found piece in journalism, being able to still be a part of the sport I love and then what you do in broadcasting. That's why I started working on an album "From Balling to Broadcasting" so I can really tell that story.
Q - I also see you had playing stops in two other Leagues also. Tell us what the UFL and Arena Football was like?
Marlon - I have to say that my NFL experience was a dream come true. Playing in the UFL the first year, the money was there, but then in my second season in 2012 all the money wasn't there, but it was more then what I was making in Arena Football.
Arena Football the money wasn't there but the experience was really priceless. I tell people all the time that was the most fun I've ever had playing football. I know part of it was that I was still able to be playing football. In the NFL there was the practice squads. The UFL's life was short lived, but I didn't have a AFL career like other guys had. Some guys had to bounce around the League. So I'm fortunate to have had the opportunity to play and break records. That's why I wanted to play the game, you have certain things on your bucket list you want to do before you retire and to be able to cross off some of the items off that list was a blessing.
I would definitely have to say that Arena Football was the most fun and I was able to go out on a good note. We didn't have a winning season but I was able to at least finally see what professional football was.
Q - What made you finally realize that it's time to hang up the cleats and move on to other things?
Marlon? Family is what did it. Unfortunately because of the financial curve, I had hit rock bottom. That's when I started my entrepreneur of mine, being able to start the business that eventually turned into Conquer Sports Professionals. I had to because every offseason I had to do trainings just to make ends meet.
My broadcast career had started right when I said I was going to stop playing football. The 2014 season was the first contemplation year, ... "Do I still want to do this?" Then I ended up retiring and tried working the typical nine to five, but it just didn't work. So I went into staffing and doing those type of things to get a pay check every week and just continued to work on my craft, to doing what we're doing right now.
Q - So you're still in Gretna right now?
Marlon - I live in Harvey which is one city over from Gretna. It's all the same. I still live here. My oldest son goes to De La Salle. My nine year old is at ISL (International School of Louisiana). The baby is in nursery. My wife is a school teacher. We're enjoying life. This summer my son is going into his senior year and the kids are able to go out and go to camps and compete. There's no complaints over here T. I'm just thankful to be blessed to be able to do what I love to do. I love my family and friends. We are all just trying to figure out this thing that we call life. You just got to keep going.
Q - Anything that you would like to tell the LSU fans?
Marlon - I love them! Y'all keep being great. Just know that from a players prospective, we hear all of you when we're in the locker room. When we're coming through that tunnel we hear y'all. That energy in the stadium electrifies it and you feel it in your play. Screaming fans when we have the other team backed up on their own goal line, or making a big tackle for a loss, throwing my arms up. Hearing that crowd sending shock wave through your body that's unforgettable and it's so appreciated. So to all you Tiger fans out there, God Bless y'all....
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Photo Below By: Terrill Weil