As usual, coach James Franklin didn’t say too much about why Porter didn’t play.
In the opening statement of Franklin’s postgame presser, he explained part of it.
“Just so you guys are aware, and there’s no gray area out there, Joey Porter was not available tonight,” Franklin said. “And that was a non-football injury situation that we’re working with. Hopefully, we’ll have Joey back soon.”
Penn State’s defense is better with Porter, a shutdown corner who many project will be a first-round pick in the 2023 draft.
Joey Porter Jr. through 9 games:
• 269 coverage snaps
• 28 targets
• 13 receptions allowed (123 yards)
• 8 PD
• 0 TD allowed
The Penn State CB has been on LOCKDOWN 🔒 pic.twitter.com/RgU1q7lygX
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) November 9, 2022
But it looked pretty good without him Saturday, shutting out Maryland and giving up 134 yards of total offense and 74 passing. Johnny Dixon started in Porter’s place at corner. Porter, the son of former NFL All-Pro and Super Bowl champion Joey Porter Sr., was a standout at North Allegheny High School near Pittsburgh before coming to Penn State.
From the time Porter arrived in Happy Valley before the 2019 season until now, he’s grown, and that growth is something his position coach, Terry Smith, noted last month.
“Just in the maturity factor,” Smith told reporters via Zoom the Thursday before the team’s game against Ohio State. “When you’re young, we think we all have the answers, and as we get older, we start to listen a little more and have a little more faith in trust in the things around us, and that’s what he’s done. He’s trusted (the coaching staff) and given us full faith.
“He’s reaping the rewards of arguably one of the better corners to ever play here at Penn State.”
Penn State hopes to have Porter’s talents next Saturday at Rutgers.