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Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Switch to football pays off for WR Porter

By William Wilkerson

Put it this way: if emergency rooms gave out cards to be punched after every visit, similar to a sandwich shop, Emanuel Porter (Dallas/Lincoln) would be in line for a free X-ray at the very least.

Porter suffered countless sprained ankles and even broke his wrist once.

“There was just something always going on with him,” said Vickie Porter, his mother. “Freak accident stuff. He was a little accident-prone for a while.”

Emanuel Porter
Texas receiver commit Emanuel Porter, who has only played a year of high school football, is still surprised at how his recruitment took off.
Due to his frequent injuries, Vickie Porter didn’t think it was the wisest decision to let her son play football. She let him go out for the freshman team at Mesquite (Texas) Horn High School. But his season was cut short after two games due to surgery.

“It was just for precautionary reasons,” she said. “He was so thin, tall and really small. Those kids, at a certain age, start hitting harder. We were always going to the emergency room for different things, too, so to eliminate some of the visits I just wanted him to concentrate on basketball and not football.”

Emanuel Porter is as “Yes ma’am, no ma’am” as they come, so he wanted to obey his mom.

“It was a month straight like everyday that I asked her to change her mind, Porter said. “She just kept telling me no, so I just gave up on it.”

He has vivid memories of those two ninth-grade games. He even had a 15-yard touchdown reception in the second game. He enjoyed the game greatly. But ...

“She felt that after my freshman year I was too small and too skinny,” he said. “She was afraid I was going to get hurt. I guess because I am her baby.”

Porter is the type that would take on an extra shift just for the fun of it. So if basketball was going to be the sport he focused on, he was going to do everything he could to be the best he could be.

He became a gym rat. Ball became life. He played AAU ball for Deron Williams Elite during his sophomore year.

Porter became good enough to earn a scholarship from New Mexico. He even thought about committing. But basketball, the sport he’d grown up playing, the one his mother wanted him to play, just wasn’t what he wanted to do anymore.

“Basketball was what I did growing up,” he said. “But I always liked football more and just tried to convince her because that’s what I have always wanted to do.”

The convincing finally paid off in June of his sophomore year. His body had matured to the point where it looked like he would be dishing the punishment, not defenders. He was no longer 6-foot and 155 pounds like he was his freshman season. He was now a chiseled 6-3, 189 pounds with shoulders as broad as the morning sun.

“He is always working out and his body matured so I thought maybe he could handle it now,” Vickie Porter said.

She gave him the green light during dinner one June evening.

“She said, 'So you really want to play football?' I told her, 'Yes ma’am,' " Porter said. “She said, 'Well you can play.' I was shocked. I didn’t think that she would just come out of the blue and let me play. I was just telling her thank you and that she won’t regret letting me play football."

All Porter has done in one year of playing football is earn scholarship offers from TCU and Texas.

He actually received that basketball scholarship from New Mexico a few days before he was offered by TCU last August, which brought about a situation he never thought he’d be in: having to decide between basketball or football.

“I wanted to play football, but I wasn’t getting looked at in football, so when I got the basketball offer I was going to take it and concentrate on that,” said Porter, the No. 58 receiver in the country and No. 51 player in Texas. “But then a couple of days later I got offered by TCU at a camp. Football is the sport I really wanted to play and I asked my mom if that was OK. She said to do what I wanted to.”

He committed to the Horned Frogs a few days after that but has since switched his verbal pledge to the Longhorns.

“I never thought I would be in a situation like this,” said Porter, who was third on his team with 29 receptions, second with 421 yards receiving and fourth with three touchdowns as a junior. “To just sit back and think about it, it just happened so fast. I never thought something like this would happen for me.”

The unfortunate reality for his competition is that he is only scratching the surface of his potential. That’s according to his personal trainer David Robinson, a former receiver at Oklahoma and South Dakota who is now the president of D-Rob Sports and Fitness Training in Dallas.

“He’s the biggest sleeper in Texas right now simply because he hasn’t done too much,” Robinson said. “Physically and athletically, he is a four or five-star recruit. He has shown me the ability to be that.”

Robinson is impressed with how well he moves for someone his size. Porter, by the way, was on Lincoln’s relay team’s that placed second at state in the 4x200 meter relay and third in the 4x100 meter relay in May.

“The things that stands out about him is for him to be so big for his size he moves so well,” Robinson said. “He moves like he’s 5-10, 5-11. His quick twitch muscles are very fast. He plays small for his size. He has first day talent as far as coming out of the draft.”

That’s music to Porter’s ears.

As for his mother, well, there is still concern in her voice. But she’s happy with Emanuel's success.

“I’m happy for him because ... I’m happy for him. Yeah,” she said. “You see so much stuff about football injuries. But he’s matured. I’m happy.”