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Southern salesman (cont.)

Posted: Monday February 19, 2007 12:11PM; Updated: Tuesday February 20, 2007 9:18AM
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By J.C. Shurburtt, Special to SI.com, Rivals.com

Larry Porter formed a tight bond with highly regarded wide receiver Terrence Toliver.
Larry Porter formed a tight bond with highly regarded wide receiver Terrence Toliver.

Porter has worked with Miles since 2002, when he joined the Oklahoma State staff.

"The thing I try to sell at LSU is what I know and believe about the head coach. That he's a family man, a Christian man and a good ball coach. He's passionate about all three."

Nevis, Francois and McDonough 35 cornerback Delvin Breaux represented Porter's haul from New Orleans, the Eastern point of origin for Porter's recruiting march.

"New Orleans is just starting to springboard back (from Hurricane Katrina)," Porter said. "They have on a consistent basis produced excellent football players. The thing that we try to do is keep all of them home. We take great pride in that at LSU."

The one New Orleans product that Porter missed was five-star Joe McKnight of John Curtis Christian in River Ridge, who signed with USC. Porter handled McKnight's recruitment almost exclusively for the Tigers.

"It was very disappointing," Porter said. "Joe is a good young man. We take a lot of pride in Louisiana kids staying at home and certainly it was disappointing to me, to our staff and to the state of Louisiana."

Breaux presented another set of challenges. The 6-foot-1, 174-pounder committed early and was just starting to emerge as an elite prospect before a broken neck sidelined him for the rest of the season.

"We honored the scholarship and tried to keep him motivated during the season," Porter said. "We had him in camp for two years, which shows you that camp does pay off. We were able to evaluate him for two summers. We knew exactly what we were doing. The thing about Delvin is that he sleeps and drinks football. His dad tells me he comes home some nights and Delvin will be sitting there with his helmet and shoulder pads on, just waiting to get back out there."

Toliver, Rivals250 offensive tackle Jarvis Jones and Rivals250 quarterback Jarrett Lee represented Porter's haul from the greater Houston area.

Toliver, one of the top receivers in the country, was one of many prospects that Porter enjoyed recruiting.

"Terrence was a low-maintenance guy," Porter said. "He was very friendly and a very truthful young man. We had a very strong relationship. That's what got us through this entire process."

Toliver talked about the reaction of Porter when he gave his commitment to the Tigers the day before Signing Day.

"Coach Porter said he didn't know whether to cry or just be proud," Toliver said.

When Jimbo Fisher left LSU for Florida State, Porter took over the recruitment of five-star safety/defensive athlete Chad Jones, who signed with the Tigers on Signing Day.

While being named the country's top recruiter is an honor, Porter has bigger goals.

"Hopefully, (my long-term goal is) to be a head coach," he said. "But short term it is to be the best assistant coach I can be. I would much rather be known as a great football coach rather than a great recruiter."

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