His name is Roger Jackson, but they call him “Spiderman.”
And the New Orleans VooDoo hope Jackson, a New Orleans native signed earlier this week, can transform the Arena Football League franchise with big catches and his passion for football, starting with Saturday night’s game against the Spokane Shock at the Smoothie King Center.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.
“I’m going to play with a lot of energy and passion,” said Jackson, a product of Higgins High School. He was a sophomore when Hurricane Katrina hit, forcing him and his family to relocate to Arkansas, where he graduated high school.
“I’m not just a person playing football somewhere,” he said. “I’m from here. This is personal for me, representing the New Orleans VooDoo. I’m going to play tough, be encouraging to my teammates, uplift them and help to create a positive environment.”
And, hopefully serve as another receiving option for quarterback Adam Kennedy.
The VooDoo are 1-4, losers of their past four games. The offense ranks last in the Arena Football League in scoring offense (38 points per game). Spokane ranks eighth of 12 teams (46.2 ppg).
Jackson earned the nickname by making spectacular catches on Arkansas’ prep fields, a reputation which followed him to Division II’s Arkansas Tech to the present.
Even back in Westwego.
Jackson, listed at 6-foot-3, 190 lbs., spent last season with the Trenton Freedom of the Professional Indoor Football League, earning Rookie Offensive Player of the Year honors with 59 catches for 730 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Before signing with the VooDoo, Jackson played in five games this season, averaging 108 receiving yards with 10 TDs.
“I just want to contribute as much as I can to win,” Jackson said.
Jackson will be teamed with rookie Marcus Smith, who caught 11 passes for 88 yards against the Philadelphia Soul. Meanwhile, Chris Duvalt leads the VooDoo in catches (32) and yards (373), while establishing a career high in TDs (seven). Kentwood native Carlese Franklin has 19 catches for 210 yards and three scores. He leads the VooDoo in rushing TDs (three), while also playing jack linebacker in a limited role on defense.
The VooDoo’s revolving roster included the additions of receiver Jackie Chambers (5-9, 180), formerly of the AFL’s Kansas City Command and the Spokane Shock. On defense, defensive end Benji McDowell playing for first-year coach Dean Cokinos on two franchises — the Georgia Force (2011-12) and the Alabama Hammers in 2013-14. McDowell has seven career AFL sacks.