Kent State senior speaks softly, delivers a big pin

Marcus Barkley

Flashes’ Porter ready to wrestle

Senior heavyweight division wrestler Jermail Porter is preparing for another strong season for Kent State. Porter has a combined record of 88-40 with 2 straight at-large bigs to the NCAA championships. Daniel R. Doherty | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Two hundred and eighty-five pounds of muscle, spread across a towering 6-foot-3-inch frame. He has arms that look like they could easily tear phone books in half – or anyone who steps in his way.

But behind this hulking demeanor lies a soft-spoken man who enjoys “Entourage” and admits that he often lacks that killer instinct when he steps onto the wrestling mat.

His name is Jermail Porter, and he is a senior wrestler for Kent State.

“Jermail doesn’t say a whole lot as far as in front of the coaching staff, though I don’t know how it is with the team,” wrestling coach Jim Andrassy said. “But he’s a big softy, that’s what we call him. He’s a big, giant teddy bear.”

Jermail Porter may come off like a “giant teddy bear” to his team and those who know him, but he’s a Kodiak when he steps in the ring.

In his five years on the Kent State wrestling team, Porter holds an 88-40 record with two straight at-large bids to the NCAA Championships. On the season, Porter is 5-1 after recording three straight wins on Saturday at the Boilermaker Challenge. But even with his impressive record, Porter is the last one to pat himself on the back.

“I’m doing pretty well so far, but I’ve still got to figure things out and stop thinking so much, because that’s been my mentality,” said Porter, who was 94-18 at Firestone High School in Akron. “I want to be one of the best in the country, and I’ve got to get back to the mentality I had back in high school, where I go out there feeling no one can beat me.”

As the team’s top heavyweight, Porter is not only the largest wrestler, but he is also the last one who wrestles at meets, which means his individual effort could mean the difference between his team winning and losing.

“When I first started, it was a bit nerve-wracking, and I think I just had to learn to handle the pressure,” Porter said. “There have been a couple times it’s come down to me and sometimes I have crumbled under the pressure, but I think I’ve learned how to overcome that and just go out there and do my job.”

Andrassy said he is happy to have Porter, an experienced and talented wrestler, close out his team’s matches and thinks Porter has the ability to be one of the best in the country at what he does.

“Knowing that you got a guy at the end who can win helps us and shortens our match,” Andrassy said. “He’s a guy, when he wrestles as he should, who should be ranked third or fourth in the country.”

Porter is joined by five other fifth-year seniors on the Flashes’ wrestling team and said the last half-decade he has spent with them has created a bond that goes beyond the ring.

“We’ve developed something like a brotherhood between the five-year guys,” Porter said. “We’ve been going out to Sunday dinners a lot and hanging out over the summer because we all stay up here. It’s a very solid bond we have built over the last five years.”

When asked about the future, Porter said, with a hearty laugh, that he is still not sure what the future holds for him, so he is trying to focus on the present.

“If you ask my dad, he’ll say working, but honestly, I have no clue,” Porter said. Right now, I’m just trying to focus on wrestling, pick my game up a bit and have the best final season I can possibly have, with no regrets at the end.”

Contact Sports Correspondent Marcus Barkley at [email protected].