"I think I surprised them a bit," recalled a chuckling Dudley LaPorte. "I ran a 4.48 forty the first time, and everyone was checking their stop watches. They made me run it again, and I ran a 4.52. They had never seen someone that was 6' 4", 255 run that fast, at least that is what they told me."
How did Scout.com's highest rated junior college tight end prospect end up in California?
"Well, I did not take care of my books out of high school. Boston College recruited me out of high school but I came up short on some core classes and then at Milford, I signed with Eastern Kentucky, but I did not meet the requirements again. It was tough on me. I learned my lesson. That is for sure. I am going to graduate in May from here with honors."
Dudley prepped at Stratford High School and caught
35 passes for 850 yards and was named All-State and played in the Connecticut/Rhode Island All-Star game out of high school. Milford was also a successful stint,
as LaPorte had 12 catches for 358 receiving yards and 5 TD's.
Off to Santa Barbara College.
"Well, I actually got there late because the NCAA clearinghouse did not rule on me until real late. I showed up after the first couple of games and they put me at fullback because they needed one that could catch it out of the backfield. I was going to do what ever they needed for me to do to help the team out. All of the turmoil from not qualifying, I was just ready to get on with my life."
After playing the season out at fullback, Dudley was moved back to tight end.
"This season has gone pretty good. I did not get hurt so that is a plus. I led the team in receptions, yards, and Td's I think I have 31 catches for 515 yards and 4 Td's I know I had 25 catches for 430 yards before our last game. I was well over 500 yards after Saturday. I have had an exciting year because I am drawing double and triple team coverages. It is fun knowing people are trying to shut you down and then you go out there and show them they you can't."
Dudley's junior college career for Santa Barbara college came to an end on Saturday.
"We just lost to LA Harbor college. That put us at .500. It was a tough loss. We lost it in the 4th quarter. We got knocked out of the playoffs."
But there is still one more game for LaPorte to play in before he takes the show to the D1 level.
"I was selected to the Junior College All-American game. It is played on December 15th. They are taking the top 55 players in California and playing the top 55 from the rest of the country. This is the first year the bowl game has been played. I am excited they nominated me for that game."
Which colleges are heavily involved in Dudley's recruitment?
"I am actually going
to Ole Miss this Friday to see them play LSU. That should be exciting. I already
took a visit to Nevada (10/16). Things should heat up now that my season is over
and my coaches are sending out my first highlight tape. They have been talking
to Arizona State, Florida State and Rutgers a lot lately."
How did the trip to Nevada go?
"It was actually pretty cool. I enjoyed the environment. It is a cool place. Their team played hard. They almost beat Fresno State, and they were down big. They showed a lot of heart."
How did Ole Miss get into the picture?
"They were actually the first school
to offer and start recruiting me out of here. Coach Rodriguez, we talk all the
time. He also talks to my brother every week, and my brother is in charge of my
recruitment. They have a great relationship and we do too. They play in the toughest
conference in the country, and they play hard. Their record does not show how
close they are. They almost beat Florida, so that shows you what they are capable
of. They just need a couple more pieces to put them over the top."
What will LaPorte focus on while he is on his official visit at Ole Miss?
"I want to see how the environment is and will it feel like home? I want to see how the players act if they end up trailing LSU. I want to see how their morale is. I am really interested in their school, so I want to see how the coaches are with their players. I will look at a lot of little things like that."
What are Rutgers, Florida State, and Arizona State telling Dudley?
"I have not been personally talking to Rutgers and Arizona State. My coaches are talking to them. Florida State has been calling my coaches lately too. I am just waiting to see if they need a juco tight end or not. That's about it right now."