Joey Porter Jr. was one of 18 prospects who solidified plans to attend Penn State during Wednesday’s start of the early signing period.
Porter’s father helped the Pittsburgh Steelers win Super Bowl XL following the 2005 season. The elder Porter is in his fourth year as the franchise’s outside linebackers coach. His son starred down the road at North Allegheny High School, where he became one of Pennsylvania’s top 2019 recruits.
The four-star Porter is ranked as the No. 24 overall cornerback in America this cycle, according to 247Sports. He committed to the Nittany Lions over Pitt, Miami, West Virginia, and LSU on September 11. Penn State’s 2019 recruiting class currently checks in at No. 10 nationally and second in the Big Ten.
Porter’s new position coach Terry Smith discussed the benefits of him being able to learn from the game’s best on a daily basis. After Porter’s senior season was over, he would often follow his dad to work and watch film with the players.
“He has an advantage that a lot of kids don’t get,” Smith said. “Every day since his season ended, he’s been down at the Steelers’ facility. He’s sitting in meetings, he’s training with the strength staff, he’s running one-on-one routes against Antonio Brown.”
James Franklin said Porter, who’s listed by the program at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, boasts the longest arms of any of Penn State’s incoming cornerbacks. This June, Porter will join a position group that returns plenty of proven talent with John Reid, Tariq Castro-Fields, Donovan Johnson, and Zech McPhearson at the top of the depth chart.
Porter will likely redshirt his first year on campus as he acclimates to the speed and physicality of Big Ten football, but he could carve out some playing time for himself with a strong training camp.
Porter racked up 48 total tackles and 10 interceptions during his two varsity seasons at North Allegheny, while adding 329 receiving yards and four touchdowns on the offensive side of the ball, per MaxPreps. Porter also possesses the flexibility Franklin covets in his skill position players.
At his signing day press conference at Beaver Stadium, Franklin pondered out loud whether Porter would eventually grow into a safety or linebacker for the Nittany Lions, but he will start his career at corner this summer and see how things play out. Franklin expressed confidence that Porter, Keaton Ellis, and Marquis Wilson are all capable of success at the position.
“We feel like he’s going to come in much more prepared than your average kid, but at the end of the day, he’s still an 18-year-old kid who’s going to have to grow and get stronger and get faster and learn our system,” Smith said of Porter.
Mike Tomlin’s son, Dino Tomlin, is a three-star wide receiver from Shady Side Academy who signed with Maryland Wednesday. There’s a good chance he and Porter will go head-to-head at some point in the next few years with their fathers watching intently from the stands — provided they aren’t on the road that week.
Porter is one of the more intriguing Penn State freshmen to keep an eye on as he arrives this summer and puts all that preparation to good use.
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