Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No experience necessary: KSU's Porter going to Patriots

By Jonas Fortune

April 27, 2009

Just one month ago Kent State senior wrestler Jermail Porter earned All-American status at the 2009 NCAA Championships in St. Louis, The first Kent State wrestler to do so since 1986.

It was what happened the week leading up to the finals though that changed his future.

Kent State assistant football coach Larry McDaniel approached the former Firestone High School graduate about playing professional football after his college-wrestling career ended.

''It was unexpected for me,'' Porter said in a phone interview. ''It's a new adventure.''

Apparently the New England Patriots had the same thoughts about the 6-foot-6, 312-pound heavyweight. Porter has reached an agreement with the Patriots as a non-drafted free agent, and potential offensive lineman.

The deal is not official yet, as Porter, who is waiting for the contract to be mailed to him. He is already scheduled to participate in the Patriot's rookie camp Thursday through Sunday.

The Patriots could not be a better fit for Porter, who said he has always been interested in playing football, but never played for an organized team; college, high school, or otherwise.

Patriots starting guard Stephen Neal is a former college wrestler, who did not play college football. Neal won two NCAA titles at Cal State-Bakersfield and won the Dan Hodge Award, Wrestling's Heisman Trophy, in 1999.

''It is one of the things I am so excited because they have such good teachers there,'' Porter said.

It doesn't hurt that he and Neal share the same agent in Neil Cornrich.

For the past several weeks Porter has been working with the Kent State football staff in preparation for the draft.

''The training wasn't that different, just fine tuning the mechanics from wrestling to football,'' Porter said. ''Most of it is stuff I am already equipped to do from wrestling.''

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