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Porter looks golden in Mountaineer secondary

by Joedy McCreary


(August 25) MORGANTOWN -- As they say, blondes do have more fun.

At least in the West Virginia University secondary, they do.

Jerry Porter, the Mountaineers' jack-of-all-trades athlete, proved this summer that his hair is as versatile as his body. Porter -- WVU's quarterback-turned-receiver-turned-safety --showed up to two-a-day camp with his formerly jet-black hair dyed blond, the result of his July 14 birthday dare.

"I decided to dye my hair blond on my birthday," Porter said. "I cut my hair bald on my birthday and said I was going to let my hair grow until after camp. When camp came up, I dyed it blond. Nodoby believed me, so that was more incentive to do it."

Porter's new "do" isn't a Dennis Rodman-like fashion statement, he said.

"Dennis Rodman doesn't go well with the team," Porter said. "It wasn't about that. It was just about being different for camp."

So far, Porter has made a difference in the defensive backfield, too.

Running with the first-team defense at free safety, Porter picked off two Brad Lewis passes during WVU's first official scrimmage last week.

"It was basically good play-calling," Porter said. "The coaches had us in the right defenses, with the right coverages for the plays that were being called. Brad Lewis made two mistakes, and I just went up to get the balls."

Porter is used to being a ball hawk. After all, he caught 13 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns last season.

That includes a 74-yard touchdown from Marc Bulger in the closing moments of the 35-30 Carquest Bowl loss to Georgia Tech.

And Porter came to Morgantown as a quarterback prospect, only to move to receiver when David Saunders tore knee ligaments late last summer.

Quite simply, Porter is used to having the ball in his hands. So why should playing free safety any different?

"I've been an offensive player all my life," Porter said. "I learned how to catch at an early age, so it's easy to me. I make a lot of catches with no problem."

Porter, who has shared time with freshman Rick Sherrod at the free safety position, says he should start against Ohio State.

All other things being equal, his athletic ability should be enough to get him the start, he said.

"Everyone spends equal time in the meeting room," Porter said, "learning coverages and seeing their mistakes so they won't make the same mistakes again."