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Joey Porter Jr. Eager To Forge Own Legacy Ahead Of NFL Draft

Joey Porter Jr. will be remembered as one of the best cornerbacks in Penn State football history. He holds the school record for most pass breakups in a single game with his six against Purdue in 2022, he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors, and he was named a second-team All-American.

Now, he’s primed to potentially be the first cornerback selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Despite all those accolades, Porter Jr. is still fighting to be the best football player in his family.

Porter’s father, Joey Porter, is a former NFL linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, and Arizona Cardinals. The elder Porter won Super Bowl XL with the Steelers and was named to four Pro Bowls between 2002 and 2008.

For now, Porter lives in his father’s shadow. NFL teams ask him about his father in interviews, and pundits wonder whether the second generation can be good as the first. Porter just wants to be his own player.

There are plenty of rumors regarding Porter following his father’s footsteps and becoming a Steeler as a first-round pick in the draft. The Steelers are lacking at the cornerback position and hold the No. 17 overall pick in the draft.

The Bakersfield, California, native has plenty of connections within the Steelers organization. Despite spending the last five years of his career with two other teams, Porter’s father retired as a Steeler. Porter himself is close with head coach Mike Tomlin’s family along with other members of the organization. All the same, he isn’t reading into any ties with the team.

“I’ve got a good relationship with them. But at the end of the day, it’s business,” Porter said at Penn State’s Pro Day. “If they want me, they will get me, and if they have the opportunity, then we’ll see what happens.”

While the elder Porter is similarly remembered as one of the best players in the history of Colorado State’s football program, Porter wants to break free of the typical comparisons and forge his own path in the NFL. According to Porter, his dad wants nothing more, either.

“He always told me there’s gonna be comparisons when me and him and at a young age. He always told me that he wanted me to be better than him,” Porter said. “I thank him for that because that took a lot of pressure off me as a kid.”

Porter’s father has been there for him since the beginning of the Penn State star’s football career, the hopeful draftee said. That support keeps Porter focused on the road ahead.

“My dad has been in my corner and my head for a long time,” Porter said. “The fact that he has been in my corner and has saved me from bumping my head on certain instances. That’s big to me.”

Right now, Porter is trying to make history. He spent the 2022 season establishing himself as arguably the best cornerback in college football and has the chance to be the first defensive back selection in the first round in Penn State history. The idea is nothing short of exciting for the young talent.

“[It] feels great just to follow in that line with other great athletes that went to Penn State,” Porter said. “I’m going to go down in history at Penn State and come back and show my kids that and… I’m going to be the first and really just set the tone for who’s coming behind me.”

Porter knows that he can’t exactly decide his own fate. As the NFL Draft approaches, he’s ready for wherever the journey takes him.

“I’m just going to be happy with any team that wants me,” he said. “I’m just excited to be in the conversation.”

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a senior journalism major at Penn State and Onward State's managing editor. He writes about everything Penn State, especially its 10-2 football team. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. For dumb stuff, follow him on Twitter (iamjoelister). For serious stuff, email him ([email protected]).

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