Rookie Back's Second Chance

Quinn Porter was drafted by a fledgling developmental league in 2009 but returned to Stillman, where he wound up being a Division II All-American as a senior. "Green Bay chose a prime, elite, future Hall of Famer," Porter told Packer Report at rookie camp.

Quinn Porter was drafted.

Not by the Green Bay Packers, but the Georgia Stallions.

Never heard of the Stallions? They were supposed to be part of the United National Gridiron League but the league failed to get off the ground.

That's not the strangest part of the story, though.

Porter said he wasn't going to come back for his senior season at Division II Stillman College, which is located in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Stillman changed coaches, and Porter said he was "mad" that new coach L.C. Cole didn't give him a call as one of the team's top returning players.

So, Porter decided the UNGL would be the best launching point for his professional career. Cole eventually made that call and talked Porter into staying at Stillman, and Porter responded with conference highs of 1,247 rushing yards, 6.4 yards per carry and 1,726 all-purpose yards. He finished fifth in Division II in rushing en route to All-American honors. He topped 3,000 rushing yards for his career.

Porter went undrafted but agreed to sign with the Packers in the hours following the draft. The ear-to-earn grin lingered into the team's rookie orientation camp the following weekend.

"Green Bay chose a prime, elite, future Hall of Famer," Porter said with a smile. "I'll keep it at that. I've got confidence. I'm very optimistic."

Quinn Porter
Courtesy Stillman Athletics
Porter (6-0, 205) knows he faces a "tough transition." He has been staying up late and getting up early to get a grasp of the playbook.

"The plays weren't as complex as they are right now, but I'm learning on the run," Porter said. "(Running backs) Coach (Edgar) Bennett, he's an excellent coach and an excellent player back in the day. He's my role model. I'm just listening to everything he's got to say and taking everything in."

That said, it's still running back. While the blocking concepts and the playbook are more challenging than in college, it's still getting the ball, making defenders miss and running really fast.

"It's all about fun. I'm having fun," Porter said. "I love football, been playing since I was 8. Just getting that pill and running an extra 40, 50 yards, so coach Mike McCarthy and Coach Bennett and everybody else who's critiquing me around here, this is my interview. I'm having fun with it. It's a blessing."

To be sure, Porter faces an uphill battle. Ryan Grant is entrenched as the starter, and Brandon Jackson is so good in pass protection that he's almost irreplaceable on third-down passing situations. Sixth-round pick James Starks enters offseason practices as the front-runner to be the third running back on the roster, ahead of Kregg Lumpkin — a former undrafted rookie who spent his first two NFL seasons on the practice squad.

The ace in the hole for Porter, however, is he averaged almost 40 yards on kickoff returns as a senior, including two for touchdowns. He's also had some experience returning punts. He caught just five passes as a senior for a team that completed only 77 passes all season. As a junior, though, he caught 27 balls for 350 yards and five touchdowns.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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