Photo of Tracy Porter
Grade
?
  • 4.37 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.07 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 11.22 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 5'11" Height
  • 185LBS. Weight

Overview

One of the nation's top playmaking defensive backs, Tracy Porter became the first player in school history to return a punt, interception and fumble for touchdowns in his career.

The team captain has always been known for his ball-hawking skills, but after years of reluctance to perform vs. the run, Porter showed good determination in stopping the run his final season.

As a senior, Porter became the first Hoosier since Mark Sutor in 1982 to record six or more interceptions in a season. He would close out his career with 16 interceptions, three short of the school record of 19 by Tim Wilbur (1978-82). Ever the opportunist, he amassed 413 yards on those interception returns, breaking the previous Indiana record of 360 yards by Wilbur. He also became just the third player in Big Ten Conference history to gain over 400 yards on interception returns, joining Jamar Fletcher of Wisconsin (459, 1998-2000) and Tom Curtis of Michigan (431, 1967-69).

It took a few years for Porter to warm up to playing football. At Port Allen High School, he was more noted for his basketball talent than for his football prowess. He played only two seasons of football during his prep days, but earned first-team All-District 3A honors as a senior and second-team laurels as a junior.

Porter played quarterback, running back and wide receiver on offense and made 93 tackles, 11 interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) and 14 pass breakups as a cornerback during his senior year. He also returned two punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns, averaging 47.0 yards per kick return and 28.0 per punt return. He also started at point guard for the basketball team and clocked a personal best 10.4 in the 100 meters for the track team.

Porter joined Leslie Majors as the only true freshmen to letter at Indiana in 2004. He was named to The Sporting News' Big Ten Conference All-Freshman Team. He started the first seven games at right cornerback before he was sidelined for the final four contests with a left shoulder injury (clavicle fracture). He posted 22 tackles (19 solo) with six pass breakups and also intercepted three passes, returning one for a touchdown.

As a sophomore, Porter started all 11 games, 10 at right cornerback, and in the season finale vs. Purdue, he shifted to strong safety. He delivered 48 tackles (42 solo) with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He picked off three more passes and also batted away six other throws.

Porter added punt return duties to his resume in 2006. He was a second-team All-Big Ten Conference pick, starting all 12 games at right cornerback. He was in on 59 tackles (51 solos), as he recovered a fumble, caused another and knocked down eight balls. He had four interceptions and a 27-yard kickoff return while also blocking one kick.

In 2007 preseason camps, Porter excelled and the coaching staff felt that he had the ability to be the Big Ten's elite cornerback. Coach Bill Lynch was impressed by Porter's play and maturity and predicted a big year.

In 2007, Porter became the first Indiana cornerback since Mike Dumas in 1989 to earn All-Big Ten Conference first-team accolades. He shifted to left cornerback, ranking second in the league and tied for 18th nationally with six interceptions. He ranked tied for third in the Big Ten with an 11.0-yard average on 23 punt returns. He totaled 83 tackles (63 solo), with a sack and 5.5 stops for losses. He recovered two fumbles, returning one for a score and had four pass breakups.

Porter started all 43 games in which he played at Indiana, lining up at right cornerback for 29 contests, at left cornerback for 13 games and once at strong safety. He ranks second in school history with 16 interceptions for a Hoosiers all-time record 413 yards in returns (25.8-yard average) and a touchdown. He recovered four fumbles for 147 yards in returns, including a score. He added 477 yards and a touchdown on 35 punt returns (13.6 avg) and had a 27-yard kickoff return. He finished with 212 tackles (175 solo), a nine-yard sack and 5.5 stops for minus-18 yards. He also caused two fumbles, deflected 24 passes and blocked a kick.

Analysis

Strengths

Positives: Has good arm length, a bit high-cut, but has large, natural hands to make the interception...His speed is his best asset, evident when returning interceptions or kicks or getting downfield to cover on the punt team...Runs with a smooth stride and has exceptional quickness and burst...Possesses good change-of-direction agility and body control, as well as quick feet to redirect (does struggle to come out of breaks cleanly, though)...Competes hard as a gunner on punt and punt-return teams...Does a fairly good job in tight man coverage, giving his opponents little stabs and showing good athletic ability...Needs to react to the plays with better urgency, but takes good angles to close...Adequate reading routes, but can be disruptive with his hands on the press and is better when he mirrors the receiver throughout the route rather than when playing off the man...Shuffles his feet most of the time in his backpedal, but does build to top speed well as the route extends, showing decent hip sink and balance...Better to see plays develop when in a Cover-2 or "quarters" coverage...Has the speed to catch up and close the cushion with the ball in flight and shows good ball skills and hands to reach and extend for the ball away from his frame...Needs to develop cleaner feet to stick in his breaks, but shows good hand usage in attempts to reroute his opponent...Has the rare speed to run with his opponent on deep patterns and, if given room, he can slip and avoid blocks with his quickness...Has exceptional leaping ability to compete for jump balls (will get knocked around a bit) and catch the pass at its highest point...Able to extend and make plays on the ball over his head and has good vision running with the pigskin, knowing when to get "skinny" in order to slip through tight creases...Does good things with the ball in his hands as a return specialist, showing run instincts and flashing elusiveness, with good production...As a gunner, he eludes blockers one-on-one and gets downfield quickly, showing good competitiveness. Negatives: Has a slender build with a thin chest and smooth legs, but if he adds more bulk, it will impact his overall quickness...Has shown better courage playing vs. the run, but his lack of strength will see him get rag-dolled by bigger blockers often...Has decent ability in press coverage, but gets lots of balls caught on him underneath, as he prefers to give up a big cushion...Durable athlete, but lacks toughness and it is rare to see him stick his hat into the action (prefers to make plays in the open than in closed quarters), but did show better tackling effort as a senior than he did earlier in his career...Has good hip snap, but needs to open them quicker to come out of his breaks cleanly...Has had problems academically and will need more than a few reps to retain plays...Has matured off the field, but does not handle tough coaching well...Slow to read and react to the ball and his low test score indicates he might have problems digesting a complicated playbook...Must play with better urgency when he sees the play develop (does not close in a hurry)...Best when he stays tight on the receiver's hip, as he lacks the recovery quickness to get back into the action when the receiver gets behind him (has great timed speed, but poor cutting ability negates his explosion)...Needs to be monitored in the training room and pushed in practice (not a self-starter)...Must work on improving his backpedal, as he doesn't stay in it long enough and uses a straddle-and-bail technique that allows speedier receivers to gain good separation...Tends to get up on his toes when backpedaling, causing him to struggle to turn cleanly...Just adequate playing in the zone, as he lacks urgency to handle switch-offs and waits for the play to come to him rather than initiate contact...Too inconsistent tracking the ball in flight and would much rather make a big play on the ball than attack a target...Even with his impressive leaping ability, his timing is off and he does not show good urgency to ride up over the receiver to compete for jump balls...Has natural hands, but struggles to locate the ball with his back to the quarterback...Made considerably more plays vs. the run as a senior than his first three years combined (in the past, he would not come up in run force, letting others make the play)...Generally takes a side or will swipe at the ankles when tackling, as he either lacks courage or knows he doesn't have the power to generate pop on contact and must also show better hand technique to wrap-up and secure...Gets engulfed by bigger blockers when playing near the line and has marginal strength, getting washed out often when asked to take on the lead blocker in run support...Never really embraced the fact that he is a football player until his senior year (just seemed to be going through the motions too often in the past)...Needs to play with better control, as he had a high amount of foolish penalties (nine) in 2007 that proved costly. Compares To: RICARDO COLCLOUGH-Cleveland...Like Colclough, Porter's timed speed and natural hands are his best assets. Both have been productive returners and Porter shows good ability as a gunner on special teams. Neither is known for tackling ability, or a desire to make plays vs. the run. Porter is rail-thin, but additional weight would take away his best quality -- speed. He lacks consistency recognizing the play as it develops and will never be more than marginal in run support. Yes, he has great hands and a good eye to make the big play, but he's more of a sub package type of defensive back than one who can play all four downs.
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.
NFL News
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