In the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft, there are many candidates who are thought to be overlooked, or sleepers. Some because they are over-or-under rated, while others are considered a "big fish in a small pond" or could it be a big fish in a overlooked, untapped pond?
I had the opportunity to interview an incoming NFL Draft prospect that is just that, coming from an overlooked pond.
What is an overlooked pond? Any Division II or III school. Let me remind you of the talent that has come from these ranks: Jerry Rice, Larry Allen, Jacoby Jones, Brian Urlacher, Daniel Manning, Jahri Evans.
OK, you get the point that there are plenty of big names, Hall of Famers and Pro Bowlers that have come from the lower division schools. To the same effect, there also some great players who get overlooked completely that play in Division I like undrafted player Arian Foster or Victor Cruz.
Now that I have clarified that there are great players who are easily overlooked, it's time to get down to the 2012 NFL Draft prospect Donterrious Porter, defensive back and return specialist from Luther College.
Porter may get overlooked in this draft but you can be sure that he will still be invited somewhere for training camp simply because the guy can play, and he plays with passion. You can't beat a player who has true passion for the game. That is something you cannot coach, it's in you or it isn't.
Another thing about Porter is how humble he is. That is my second favorite quality in a player, is to be humble. So what's the first you ask? His work ethic. Through my messaging back and forth with Porter he always seemed to be training or at track practice to keep his speed. I had the opportunity to ask Porter a few questions about himself and what he would like people to know.
Here is a recent interview with Porter:
AD: Donterrious, before I give you a few questions, I would like to start off by asking you what would you like me and other people to know about you?
DP: How blessed I am to have gotten the combine invite, how hard I have worked to get noticed and how hard I have worked to get to where I am today. I want people to know what kind of person I am and my dreams to get an opportunity to have a chance in the NFL and just make my parents, brothers, sisters and my family happy, and the people who are willing to try to help get me noticed.
AD: What made you chose to play at Luther College?
DP: I wanted to start a new name for myself away from home, but also play football and have the opportunity to run track. I wanted to go to a smaller school because I wanted to be able to work on my speed, flexibility, and my ability to explode. I knew if I went to a bigger school I probably wouldn't have been able to run track. I thought about walking on to a D-1 school like most guys but I felt track was important for my speed. I also felt like (being at a smaller school) I would have to work much harder because everyone would doubt my talent for being at a smaller school. I felt like I wanted those odds against me to keep me focused and motivated. I knew it would be harder to get noticed by scouts but I just knew with faith and God on my side it would happen.
AD: Tell me about your experience and accomplishments at Luther College?
DP: It's been fun; I've met a lot of friends who I will have for a lifetime. I've worked hard (during my career) and am in the history books for both track and football. I've won MVP for special teams two consecutive years, 2010 and 2011. I've been a part of a 4x100 that has one of the fastest times in school history at Luther. I've been named conference player of the week and honorable mention for football. I've made All-Conference for football and second in school history in kickoff return yards.
AD: Tell me about a special game for you while at Luther, or a special in-game moment for you?
DP: My first freshman game as a returner was also my second game playing in college. This was the start of my kick return abilities at Luther College. I had two great returns and one I almost broke out on. It set our offense in great field position for the go-ahead score. We beat Central 28-7, a team who was coming in ranked that day.
AD: What skill set do you have that sets yourself apart from other defensive backs in the upcoming draft?
DP: I would say my heart, my determination, my hard work ethic, my character and leadership abilities and my willingness to be a sponge to learn new techniques and help out any team in any way possible. I feel I have a cocky but humble swagger, I like to do my talking with my pads, not my mouth. I've learned watching film can be your best friend because it can help point out your flaws as well as your opponents. It can also show what you do well and I'm a guy who wants to be the best I can, period.
AD: Tell me about your secondary coach? How did he help you and what did you take away from him?
DP: Coach Benny Boyd is a man I respect greatly, he was someone I could talk to about anything on and off the field. I feel he has a lot of insight about life and in the game of football. He is a man who will do anything in his power to help me and his players succeed. He had a lot of energy on the sidelines and was a great motivator for the team... He gave me confidence and help reinforce my thought about not worrying what others said and to just work hard and let others talk.
AD: My last question is what do you do you want people to take from this article about you, what do you want them to know about you as a player? Also what do you think you can bring to a team along with your special teams ability?
DP: I feel I can bring leadership, integrity, inspiration, a hard work ethic, a person a coach can build a team around and a good sense of humor when needed. I also feel I could help out with the return game because field position is everything in the game. I feel I have great vision to find the hole to get big returns and I feel elusive to be able to make guys miss. I feel the more a player can be versatile by being able to play corner and kick returner the more they will be of value to that team, my goal is to reach it into the NFL and I will not stop till I get there.
To end this interview if there is one thing we should take from this is that this guy is hungry; the kind of guy that will push to make a roster spot who feels nothing is given to him. All he needs is a chance, because many guys in his situation will get overlooked. He has true heart for the game and to his benefit he is a corner and a kick returner. Keep an eye out for him, write his name down and look for him this weekend. If he does not get drafted, keep a eye out on the undrafted players your team invites, I know for sure the Texans always get great ones and Donterrious would be a great addition to the Texans because they need depth at corner, someone who can push Roc Carmichael and possibly a player he does compare himself to Brandon Harris. Vance Joseph is a great secondary coach and can really work with a guy who is coming in wanting and willing to learn. Any team can benefit from a player with those traits.