Penn State opened their 2022 season with a 35-31 victory over fellow Big 10 team, Purdue. Cornerback Joey Porter Jr. was a catalyst for the success on Thursday night in West Lafayette.
Joey Porter Jr. assumed the No. 1 spot on the depth chart at cornerback entering the 2022 season for the Nittany Lions. He is the son of Joey Porter, the hard-hitting linebacker that used to punish receivers over the middle during his 13 seasons in the NFL.
The two share a similar edge to them that few other human beings on Earth possess. They are the alpha of the alphas. And my favorite part about that? They are never shy to let you know it.
The elder Porter made a living off of stuffing run gaps and delivering lethal blows to any receiver brave enough to catch the ball in the middle of the field. His gifted son shares those qualities, but out in coverage is where his bread is buttered.
Using his inherited physicality, Porter Jr. wears down his assignments as the game progresses. He excels at getting in the mind of the wide receiver lined up across from him. Oftentimes, this leads to frustration from the wide receiver.
If the talented cornerback gets even a whiff of frustration, you are in a load of trouble. He is like a shark and will use it against his opponents in multiple ways. Porter Jr. is an absolute menace to the players he draws in coverage, and I mean that as a compliment.
Porter Jr. is not just a physical player, either. He is an elite athlete, has incredibly fluid hips in coverage, is scheme versatile, and showcases a football IQ that comes from hours and hours of watching film. Add all of that to the fact that he possesses an ideal frame for a shutdown cornerback in the NFL and it’s not hard to see why he’s already rising in most draft circles.
The redshirt junior took very little time to make his impact felt in Penn State’s opening game against the Purdue Boilermakers. Joey Porter Jr. flexed every trait in his tool bag against their conference rivals, as he led the team in tackles and consistently disrupted passing lanes, allowing a 47.1% completion rate on 17 targets.
There was a play midway through the game where Porter Jr. had a surefire pick-six, but the ball slid through his hands before falling to the gridiron harmlessly. This didn’t hurt the team in the long run, but it sure would have been an awesome stamp to his breakout performance.
Because Penn State opened up their season on Thursday night, they had more eyes on their game than they would have on a normal Saturday. Porter Jr. took advantage of that audience and parlayed his time in the spotlight into a performance that people will still be talking about even after the long Labor Day Weekend.
A cornerback has come off the board in the top eight in each of the last three NFL Drafts, and after Porter Jr. put on a show in week one, he has now firmly placed his name at the center of those discussions — if it wasn’t already.
Penn State will be looking to record their third straight year of sending a first-round pick to the NFL Draft. There is still a long way to go, and these things typically fluctuate as the season grows older, but make no mistake: Joey Porter Jr. is the real deal.