(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Sikeston senior Corey Porter has been instrumental in raising the bar for Sikeston athletic programs the past two years.
He will get the chance to do the same thing for Southeast Missouri State University next fall.
Porter recently signed a letter of intent to play football for the Redhawks at the Sikeston Field House.
"It was an opportunity that I'd get to play with top-notch competition," Porter said. "When it came down to it, I wanted to be as good as I could possibly be and SEMO is where I'm going to find it."
Porter was a three-year varsity player for the Bulldogs and was a key component in Sikeston's gridiron resurgence. He was the anchor on both the offensive and defensive lines, helping them to consecutive 13-1 seasons as well as back to back Class 4 Semifinal appearances.
"The fact that he was voted most inspirational and a team captain for us tells you what kind of individual that he is," Sikeston head coach Kent Gibbs said. "Obviously, he's been a great player for us. We're going to miss his ability and his leadership."
For Porter, his physical characteristics doesn't fit the mold of a spectacular athlete. But those who have faced him before know that's definitely not the case.
The 6-2, 290 pounder has great footwork for a big man with hands to match.
He proved his athleticism not only in football, but as the centerpiece for the Sikeston basketball teams' perfect, 30-0 Class 4 state championship this past season.
During his senior campaign, Porter racked up 37 total tackles on the defensive side as well as three sacks and three fumble recoveries.
At his offensive position as the Bulldogs' center, Porter was part of an offensive line that paved the way for 4,814 rushing yards -- tops in school history and fifth-most statewide.
"What he could bring mentally and leadership-wise to a football program is just outstanding," Gibbs said. "We're biased in our opinion, obviously, but we think he'll go up there and do the same things that he did here."
Porter said that Southeast head coach Tony Samuel expects to use him as a center on the Redhawks' offensive line -- an offensive line that will be saying goodbye to four of the five that helped propel SEMO into the history books last season.
"Coach Samuel has made it clear that he believes I could be a really good center," said Porter. "They're losing a lot of key pieces and it takes time to rebuild something that special. For me to come in and try and change it all around, it's not going to be immediate. It's going to take some time."
The Redhawks are coming off of one of the most storied seasons in their history. They went 9-3 and won the program's first Ohio Valley Conference championship. SEMO also earned the school's first playoff berth.
This is the second Sikeston senior to ink with the SEMO football team as fellow classmate Trey Lewis signed with the Redhawks in February.
When asked about the potential of him snapping the ball to his former quarterback in the future, Porter cracked a smile.
"As far as that goes, we could be playing two opposite positions by then," he said. "But, if something like that would happen, I think we would make a great run at things."