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Joey Porter Jr. ‘Proud’ As He Embarks On Journey With Hometown Team

Joey Porter Jr. became the highest drafted defensive back in Penn State history Friday when he was selected No. 32 overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Now, Porter Jr. will try to continue his father’s legacy with his hometown team.

Porter, son of Pittsburgh Steelers legend Joey Porter Sr., is originally from Bakersfield, California, but played his high school ball at North Allegheny High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before spending four year with the Nittany Lions.

Players and coaches around Penn State and Pittsburgh took to Twitter to congratulate the newest member of the Steelers, most notably Penn State head coach James Franklin.

The cornerback said he’s been dreaming of this moment for a long time, and now that it’s come, he’s ready to get to work.

“This is something that me and my family always talked about, maybe coming back home,” Porter told reporters Friday after being selected. “This is an unreal moment, and I’m just proud.”

Originally touted as first-round talent, Porter slipped in the draft after Pittsburgh passed on Porter with the No. 15 overall pick for offensive tackle Broderick Jones. However, he still ended up becoming a Steeler with the first pick in the second round.

“It was all worth it — the waiting, the whole process, all the emotions. Today made up for all that,” Porter said.

Porter became the fifth corner taken in 2023, maintaining the Nittany Lions’ record of never having a defensive back drafted in the first round.

Despite falling to the second round, Porter brings a certain mentality and skill set to the Steelers defensive corps that coaches seemingly can’t ignore.

“He’s got a lot of great attributes,” Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. “He’s got size, length, he’s competitive, tough. I’m really glad we were able to get him.”

The Steelers will hope the young corner can reinvigorate a Steelers defense that lost cornerback Cam Sutton to free agency but signed veteran corner Patrick Peterson, who played with Porter Sr. in Arizona and could possibly become Porter’s mentor in Pittsburgh.

“I’m gonna pick his brain everyday,” Porter said. “He’s gonna have me calling him everyday trying to figure out what’s this and that about the game.”

Coaches believe that the transition to the pros will go smoothly for Porter, as he won’t have to deal with outside influences that normally come with moving to a new city and learning a new system.

“He’s basically coming home,” Austin said. “It’s less stress for a young guy coming in so he can really concentrate more on the football part of it.”

Porter, however, believes he’s already familiar with the football part of it, too. Porter’s father played for the Steelers from 1999 to 2006, giving a young Porter free rein of the facilities before leaving for the Miami Dolphins when the now-rookie was six years old.

“[My dad] was always in my corner. He let me go see everything,” Porter said. “I used to be in the locker room since I was 4, 5, 6 years old meeting all the players.”

Despite following in the footsteps of a Steelers great, Porter doesn’t feel any added pressure and is just ready to get to work. The rookie is joining the likes of Minkah Fitzpatrick, T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, and the rest of the powerful Pittsburgh defense during his upcoming campaign.

“Everybody’s really excited I’m staying at home,” Porter said. “I’m just really excited to be a part of Steeler Nation and kick this thing off.”

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About the Author

CJ Doebler

CJ is a sophomore double majoring in broadcast journalism and finance. He is from Northumberland, Pa, just east of State College. He is the reigning back-to-back curling league champion at Penn State. For the occasional random retweet, follow @CDoebler on Twitter. All complaints can be sent to [email protected]

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