Porter’s dream of playing in the NFL has taken a couple hits the last couple months, but he’s trying to keep his chin up. He developed a stress fracture on the top of his right foot during practice for a postseason all-star game that required surgery. He hoped to trade the cast for a boot last Thursday, but instead was put in a new cast and now almost surely will keep him from running in JSU’s Pro Day that team officials already pushed back to April 7 to help him.
To top it off, the NFL owners have locked out the players, so even though there will be a draft, if the labor dispute isn’t settled by then, there won’t be any late spring rookie-free agent camp for him (or former JSU teammate Ryan Perrilloux) to attend.
“A guy in my position needs to get out there and show your stuff,” Porter said Monday from his home in Fayette. “Not being able to do that, especially when there are guys who’ve already got a jump on you, it sets you back a little. Overall it gives me a little longer to get stronger and stuff like that. It’s got its good and its bad. I try to look at the positives. It helps.”
Porter was projected as a late-round pick or priority free agent, and it surprised many scouts the 6-foot-7, 300-pounder wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine. Now, with the injury, which came on the second day of Texas vs. The Nation practice and required two screws to repair, he’ll likely be limited to the lifting and other testing at the Pro Day.
“It is tough luck how it’s all been dealt on top of the injury,” he said. “I don’t know how it’s going to pan out. Hopefully it will work out and they get it settled before it takes too long. I’d sure love to be out there.”
• AD SEARCH: Don Killingsworth, JSU’s government relations director, has been appointed to serve as chairman of the search committee to help the Gamecocks find their next athletics director.
The committee is just about finalized, but Killingsworth said not all the prospective members have committed to serve yet. Applications for the job don’t close until April 29, so it’ll be a while before the group gets down to work. University president Bill Meehan said when Oval Jaynes announced his retirement he expected three finalists would be invited to campus to make presentations.
It is widely believed inside and outside the JSU athletic community that Johnny Williams, the former Troy AD and head of the consulting firm that has been helping JSU look into moving to the FCS, will be the choice.
Among those said to be potential candidates are JSU associate AD David Farrar and JSU women’s soccer coach Julie Davis-Carlson. Williams has not publicly said if he is interested in the job and both Farrar and Davis-Carlson declined to comment on the search.
“I am currently under contract with JSU as the Head Coach of the Women’s Soccer Program and my focus is on the soccer program, recruitment and player development during this training season,” Davis-Carlson e-mailed in response to a request for comment.
Davis-Carlson, wife of JSU vice president of business affairs Clint Carlson, is 33-67-9 in seven seasons with the soccer team. She has been busy on the recruiting trail, having landed 10 players in this recent signing class to a squad that went into the 2010 season with 15 freshmen and sophomores and only three seniors. She has signed 10 or more players in four of the last six seasons.
According to a recently released nationwide report on diversity in sports, only 8.3 percent of all Division I athletics director jobs (4.2 percent on the FBS level) were held by women.
• CATCHING UP: The breakout game catcher Christo Sullivan had Sunday was a sunny prospect on so many fronts for the JSU baseball team. In his ninth college game and first start, Sullivan went 3-for-4 and held his ground on a play at the plate in a 6-1 victory over Southern Illinois that was coach Jim Case’s 300th career coaching win.
If the seldom-used (to date) sophomore from Northport can do that regularly, it would give the Gamecocks another viable option following the loss of Cal Lambert to elbow surgery. It would give them a chance to platoon Sullivan and freshman Stephen Bartlett behind the plate and leave Sam Eberle as the everyday third baseman.
“Christo does a lot of things on a daily basis from a work standpoint that people don’t see,” JSU coach Jim Case said. “He’s not our starting catcher and he’s not our No. 2 catcher ... but he’s one negative thing away from being our No. 2 guy.
“You want that guy to be ready and you want him to have opportunity and I felt (Sunday) would be a good day for him to have his own game instead of waiting to see what happens and he comes in and catches the last three innings. ... What that does is it makes you want to look for those oppotunities more. His role has not changed. He’s still our No. 3 catcher, but it’s a great thing when your No. 3 guy steps in there and goes 3-for-4 and catches a clean game.”
• RANDOM NOTES: Third baseman Amanda Crow and freshman pitcher Tiffany Harbin both won weekly OVC honors after the softball team went 6-0, including coach Jana McGinnis’ 600th career coaching win. Crow hit .444 with four homers and 11 RBIs to win Player of the Week honors, while Harbin was pitcher of the week after posting five wins, including all three in the Eastern Kentucky series and the first three innings of a combined no-hitter against Samford.
• The JSU track team set two school records last weekend at Birmingham Southern. The 4x400 relay team (Elizabeth Bond, Laveeta Oliver, Natasha Sturkie and Shamira Barrett) ran a 3:44.68 and the 4x100 relay (India Boyd, Bond, Barrett and Oliver) ran a 46:34.
Al Muskewitz covers Jacksonville State sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.