Long, winding path takes former East St. John star quarterback Ryan Perrilloux to LHSAA Hall of Fame

by William Weathers // GeauxPreps.com Contributor

Given the fact he’s the owner of Super Bowl and National Championship rings, Ryan Perrilloux had to qualify his latest milestone.

When the former East St. John standout quarterback took his place April 17 in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Class of 2024 along with nine other inductees, Perrilloux was recalled as one of the best to ever play the position in his home state.

“In athletics, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me in high school,” said the 38-year-old Perrilloux, who now tutors and trains quarterbacks.

In 45 years of coaching at the high school, college and professional levels, Larry Dauterive – a 2014 inductee of the LHSAA’s Hall of Fame – fondly recalled his former quarterback as the best he’s ever witnessed.

Dauterive, who was on hand for Perrilloux’s induction, said he was ecstatic for the path the 37-year-old Perrilloux had taken from being dismissed at LSU to restoring his playing career and earning a degree at Jacksonville State.

Moreover, though, Dauterive was a proud former coach, almost surrogate father, at the sight of Perrilloux … the family man with his wife and twin daughters at the hall of fame banquet.

“You think of what could have been? He says he can’t do anything about it,” Dauterive said of Perrilloux. “He made the mistakes and has to live by it. I’m so proud of what he’s made himself into as a man and father. That’s a big thing.”

Twenty years have passed since Perrilloux splashed onto the national scene as the top-rated, dual-threat quarterback at East St. John.

Dauterive recalled a perilous introduction to Perrilloux in 2002.

The former Louisiana Tech assistant and offensive coordinator of the British Columbia Lions of the CFL was bringing a pass-oriented attack to East St. John when he first met Perrilloux, who had been accidently shot the previous December.

It was the first time Dauterive witnessed the resilient nature of Perrilloux, who was 14 and 170 pounds at the time.

“The bullet that hit him hit every major artery,” Dauterive said. “He was on an operating table for five hours and it saved his life.”

The following spring Perrilloux, the nation’s No. 1 player on the AAU circuit, went to Houston to compete in a tournament where after a slam dunk, he suffered a torn ACL and an uncertain future.

Instead of the traditional nine-month to a year’s recovery period from such an injury, Perrilloux was back in six months and started in the team’s season opener against Lutcher.

“His will to compete was unbelievable,” Dauterive said, along with wife Kay, remained supportive of Perrilloux.

The combination of Dauterive’s offensive imagination and Perrilloux’s athletic ability were the perfect marriage and launched the career of the nation’s No. 1 quarterback.

East St. John’s home, Wildcat Stadium, was the place to be on Friday nights where jammed-packed crowds were the norm for fans wanting to get a glimpse of Perrilloux.

At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds Perrilloux had the arm strength to make of any of the throws Dauterive asked. His 4.5 speed rivaled that of most running backs and his pass-run combination brought the majority of college recruiters to St. John the Baptist Parish for the opportunity to watch and recruit him.

“Coach Dauterive always stayed in my ear, always kept me focused,” Perrilloux said. “I can say that I’m blessed and thank God. I thank my family. My mom (Barbara Breaux) is the best person in the world.”

Perrilloux concluded his magical high school career with 12,705 total yards – 9,025 passing and 3,680 rushing – and 155 total touchdowns.

During his senior season, Perrilloux surpassed 5,000 total yards (5,006) and along with California’s Mark Sanchez, considered the nation’s top quarterback.

“He had all the tools,” Dauterive said. “I could never call a bad play with that guy. He bailed me out a lot of times. What a gifted athlete.”

Both USA Today and Columbus (Oh.) Touchdown Club named him their respective national Offensive Player of the Year, while he was also named Louisiana’s Gatorade Player of the Year.

“You don’t do it by yourself,” Perrilloux said. “Everyone needs help, and I wouldn’t have made it to the hall of fame without them. I’m thankful for my teammates.”

Perrilloux also flourished in basketball and baseball, a pair of sports that brought vivid memories from Dauterive.

He said he remembered Perrilloux grabbing a missed free throw in a game at Thibodaux and watching him flick his right wrist with a court-length shot that swished through the net for a game-winning 3-point basket.

There was also the time after East St. John had finished its basketball season in the state tournament and several days later prepared for the start of baseball.

Then ESJ baseball coach Mackey Waguespack pitched batting practice and Perrilloux, who hadn’t picked up a bat since the end of the previous season, hit 10 home runs in 10 pitches, he said.

Perrilloux’s recruiting process had captivated the River Parishes region since his commitment in July of 2004 to Texas. It remained that way until Perrilloux sent shock waves through the country with his decision to sign with LSU and first-year coach Les Miles.

That led to a bumpy relationship that included several suspensions and ultimately his dismissal from the program in February of 2008.

He was lodged on the quarterback depth chart behind future NFL No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russell and eventual NFL quarterback Matt Flynn.

Perrilloux was given the opportunity to display vast talent in the 2007 SEC Championship game. He started in place of an injured Flynn and helped the Tigers to a 21-14 victory over Tennessee, a game in which he was named Player of the Game with 243 yards passing and a touchdown and 2-point conversion run and leading the Tigers to the BCS national title game against Ohio State.

LSU, with Flynn at quarterback, went on to win the national championship and more than month later Perrilloux, who threw for 694 yards and 8 TDs, was suspended for a violation of team rules and transferred to Jacksonville State.

“It made me understand rules, follow the rules,” Perrilloux said.

Perrilloux became the Ohio Valley Conference’s Player of the Year in 2009 at Jacksonville State where he earned his degree, but his ultimate goal of playing in the NFL took a hit when he went undrafted in the 2010 NFL Draft.

That set off a football odyssey over the next six years where Perrilloux played in the United Football League, Arena Football League, Indoor Football League, French American League in Paris and National Gridiron League.

During that stretch Perrilloux was signed and cut by the New York Giants seven times between 2011-12.

Because he was a member of the team’s practice squad, he received a ring for the team’s NFC Championship and Super Bowl Championship – a 21-17 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 46 – both of which remain keepsakes to this day.

“So much happened to me along my journey, but I had God with me and coach Dauterive and Miss Kay,” Perrilloux said. “I had help along my journey. It wasn’t just me by myself.”