Tuesday, July 13, 2010


In recruiting, you don’t get do overs, but you can guarantee that Vanderbilt would like one in the case of JSU offensive tackle Curt Porter. Porter, from Fayette, Alabama almost went to Vandy, but it did not happen. Vandy’s loss was JSU’s gain. Curt has started 22 straight games for the Gamecocks. Porter earned all OVC honors as a Junior and has attracted the attention of NFL Scouts, some of whom believe he could go as high as the third round. As you will see from the interview below, Porter has been working hard to make sure his success carries over to his all important senior season.

Q: Who recruited you besides Jacksonville State?

A: [My senior year] I was being looked at by Vanderbilt. I really liked it there. The offensive line coach, Ronnie Caldwell, talked to me a lot. When Vanderbilt decided [to take another player}, Coach Caldwell recommended me to Coach Crowe [they are good friends]. I took a visit to JSU and I really liked it. Everybody is really friendly and it was not too big of a town for me, because I am from a small town [Fayette, Alabama]. I liked the campus, I had some other visits to other schools but I liked [Jacksonville State] the best.

Q: What games stand out about your JSU career so far?

A: Two years ago, our last game was versus Tennessee State. We had a last minute big drive that put us ahead in the game. Andrew Ridgeway blocked a field goal in the game and ran it back. We got the ball back later and had that game winning drive. That was probably my favorite moment.

Q: How did you feel about being named post-season All-OVC last year?

A: It mean a lot. You can’t put too much into awards, but any time you are recognized like that it makes you feel good, whether you want to show it or not. I was very appreciative and [it made me feel good] that the hard work was paying off and getting recognized.

Q: What are the team goals for the season?

A: Winning a championship.

Q: OVC or national?

A: The big picture is national. But, you have to take the first step first. The main goal is winning the OVC. Once we get there we can put our focus to bigger things, but right now we need to focus on the OVC and then work to bigger things.

Q: How hungry is this team after missing the playoffs last year because of the APR?

A: Big time. When I was recruited here, that was the big thing - the ring, because I did not get one in high school. It’s a big deal to everybody that plays football, putting that ring on your finger. Last year, we won the OVC technically but couldn’t put a ring on our finger. It made everybody sick and out to prove a point [this year].

Q: Was it hard to stay focused last year with that hanging over your head?

A: Sometimes, but in the end you have a scholarship to play football and you have to take care of business no matter what [the distractions] are. A lot of times you can get selfish and think about me, but you have to look at what’s better for the team. Even though it was people before us [that caused the problem], we have to pay for it and move on. We can’t do anything about it now.

Q: Have you noticed a difference in the emphasis in academics?

A: You wouldn’t believe it. We always focused on academics, but it is a top priority now, not just something you have to do. Tutoring sessions, checking on your classes - it’s a constant thing and there is no getting around it.

Q: Have you enjoyed working with Jamie Strange and his player development program?

A: Yes, I really have. I think he has brought a different aspect to the team. He came in around the time I came in. I can tell a big difference in the team, in the way we carry ourselves, the way we focus on character and try to be more minded toward leadership. Once a week we have character education. You can’t really teach character, but it puts it in our mindset that you have to be aware of what you are doing off the field as well as what you do on the field. It is a really good thing. It has helped our team get closer and be more mindful of what we are doing when we are off the field.

Q: How is it being a senior and the leadership responsibilities that come with that?

A: Yes sir. I’m probably not as vocal as some of the guys . . ., but I believe in doing everything the way that it is supposed to be done. When I see it not being done [correctly], I’m going to stand in and say something. I believe in leading by example. Doing everything right, doing it the way it is supposed to be done and letting everything else take care of itself.

Q: Who are some of the other leaders on this team?

A: Andrew Ridgeway definitely is. Another guy on the offensive line that does not get the credit [he deserves] , but a lot of people look up to him is Tyler Ogletree. He has really come around this off-season. He has been working his butt off and he has taken a big role in leadership.

Q: How do you see the offense transitioning this year- post Perrilloux?

A: It will be a little bit different. You are not going to have some of the flash, but overall I think the offense is going to be more solid. I don’t think [the offense] will have as many ups and downs. It is going to be pretty consistent with what we are trying to do.

Q: It seems to me that the team is absolutely behind quarterback Marquez Ivory?

A: Yes, we really are. He’s a hard worker, he is really smart and it shows on the field. He has become a leader on the field and everybody really looks up to him. I think that really helps.

Q: Who are some other guys that will be playmakers for the Gamecocks this year?

A: Jamal [Young] . . . especially on special teams. I could see that little guy going for a ways. On defense, Monte Lewis, a defensive end. He works hard. I know sometime he’s going to just open up and let it fly. [Another running back] Calvin [Middleton]. I always expect Calvin to just bust open every play. I love watching him play. He is just explosive and I never know what he is going to do. Those are just some of the guys.

Q: Talking about the running backs, what about red shirt freshman Richard Freelon?

A: He is something to watch in practice. A lot of people may not know him [yet], but he is pretty impressive out there. Of course, you also have [fullback] Alphonso Freeney. He gets the job done. He leads those backs and they look up to him. He came in with me and I think a lot of him.

Q: There are a lot of players that have shown some potential - James Shaw, La Ray Williams?

A: La Ray just came to mind when you said that. La Ray is an amazing player. He will step up this year.

Q: Do you prefer run blocking or pass blocking?

A: Probably run blocking. You would think because I’m so long armed I would like pass blocking, but I would rather take the lick to them . . .

Q: Coach Smouse is your position coach. What is he like to play for?

A: He’s brought something to the table that we needed and that is an overall view of the offense. A lot of times on the offensive line you just want to sit there and get in your blocks and just think about the O-line, but he tries to help us [understand] what the play is, what the goal is of the play and what we are trying to accomplish. I think we really need that, to get out of our box and really understand what is going on and he has done a good job of doing that.

Q: Lets talk about some of your other offensive linemen. Tylor Chambers from up near Chattanooga?

A: He is a real physical player. I like watching Tylor. I’m excited to see him play center. I think if he can get at one position and able to keep him there, he is going to show big things because he is such a physical player and is so strong.

Q: Tyler Ogletree, the Senior Guard from Griffin, Georgia, you mentioned earlier, but what do you expect from him?

A: He has really stepped up the past couple of years as a leader. I expect big things from him this year too. He has cut down some weight and he is really moving well right now.

Q: What about Justin Kay from Vestavia [ed note: Philsteele.com named Kay 2nd team preseason all OVC]?

A: Well he’s finally gotten settled in on the O-Line. He has been doing really well. He is stepping up for his senior year . . . He has been working hard this summer. I hope he steps in and makes a big difference for us because [we need it].

Q: What about some of the younger guys- any of them standing out?

A: Taylor Johnstone is a big old dude. He can move pretty well. I’m excited to see him in the next few years. [Editor's note- Johnstone is from Douglasville, Georgia and transferred to Jax State from Georgia Southern.]

Q: Lets talk about the other side of the ball. Who are some of the guys you dread going up against in practice?

A: Monte Lewis and Jameson Wadley. Those two are about the worse I have to go against right now. Jameson is physical. He is going to pound you, you are going to go thru something every time you go against him.

Q: Is it fair to say Monte is one of the hardest working players out there?

A: He is. He has come a long, long way since he arrived at JSU. He has bulked up tremendously since he came to JSU. He is so fast. He is so shifty at defensive end that it is hard to get your hands on him sometimes.

Q: What about a couple of our sack specialist, Kevin Dix and Big Texas Garrott?

A: You have to get back there with them. They are in that sprinter’s stance and they are coming off that edge screaming. If you aren’t careful, they will get by you in a heartbeat.

Q: Who is the toughest opposing team defensive line you have had to face so far in your career?

A: That’s pretty easy. Derrick Morgan from Georgia Tech. I have never had to go against anything like that. He was something else, he was special.

Q: The Tech game was interesting, after they jumped out we hung with them and then they scored a touchdown set up by a phantom whistle.

A: That was crazy. Then they just acted like nothing happened. There was no doubt that there was a whistle blown. When we were on the field we just stopped. I still don’t know what happened.

Q: Speaking of FBS opponents, are you excited about the challenge waiting in the first game Ole Miss?

A: I am. I always love playing the bigger schools. . . . When everybody is getting recruited you want to [go FBS], but it is good for reassurance for yourself when you can hang with them and even stick it to them sometime. I think we can hang with them if we play our game.

Q: Back to the OVC. Are you looking forward to the rematch with Eastern Illinois (the only FCS team to defeat JSU last year)?

A: Yes sir. That is always one of our big games. It is always a slugfest.

Q: We have to go to Eastern Kentucky- is that a tough place to play?

A: Yes. They have a lot of history at the school and its always been a good program. Its always tough to go there to play.

Q: How do you feel being the first team to play a game in the new stadium?

A: It means a lot to me. There has been a lot of people before me that have worked their butt off so that we can have something that nice. It means a lot to me to be able to go out like that my senior year.

Q: Who are some NFL guys you really like to watch?

A: Alex Faneca that used to play for the Steelers. He was a beast. I also liked big Walter Jones that played for Seattle.

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of football?

A: Fishing and hunting.

Q: You have been spotted at some JSU softball games- is there a connection to that team?

A: My girlfriend, Kayce Crowe, is the catcher.

Q: What is your major?

A: Criminal justice.

Q: Are you on track to graduate?

A: Yes, I just have one class left.

Q: If the NFL does not work out, what would you like to do for your career.

A: Game warden.

Special thanks to jsufan.com for use of the photo of Curt.


  1. I always thought #65 was Curt Porter

  2. ALAN FANECA!!!! NOT ALEX SENECA.....Fire your editor

  3. We decided to cut his pay instead!!! We reduced it by 50%. Its down to 0.