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From the Mats to the Gridiron

Jermail Porter has not played a down of organized football since he was in grade school. On Thursday (April 30), the Kent State All-American wrestler became a New England Patriot as Porter reported for rookie mini-cap (April 30-May 2).

“If anything, what helped me get this far, is how wrestling encompasses the whole total body of athleticism,” said Porter. “You have to be athletic and be able to move to be wrestling at the Division I level. You have to be a complete athlete at all times so if anything, it has taught me to be a complete athlete at all times no matter what your situations.

“You have to be able to adjust in situations. Wrestling is what has gotten me this far and the discipline it teaches you,” added Porter.

If history is any indication, Porter will do very well in his football endeavors. He is the second Kent State athlete to be signed to an NFL contract after playing another collegiate sport. The other: San Diego Charger wide receiver Antonio Gates (basketball at KSU; five-time NFL all-star, 2004-08).

“I started looking at football as an option after my junior year at Kent State,” explained Porter. “After the NCAA’s that year was when I started entertaining the thought. Coach [Larry] McDaniels talked to me a few days after the NCAA’s in St. Louis and said he had talked to a few scouts about me.”

The Patriots also have a history of success with former college wrestlers. Four-time All-American wrestler at Cal State Bakersfield, Stephen Neal went from not even knowing how to put on football pads in 2001 to a starting spot and three super bowl rings with the New England Patriots.

“Jermail is a big kid and he has the size that very few people have in this world, said Kent State wrestling head coach Jim Andrassy. “He is now getting the opportunity to explore other options. As a coach, I am pretty excited for him. He sounded pretty excited and hopefully he can go to the NFL, make a team and make millions of dollars.”

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