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What is Northwestern getting with this elite DL pledge?
Yesterday, Northwestern received its 18th verbal for the 2023 recruitment cycle when they received a commitment from Cy Ranch (Cypress, Texas) 4-star & nationally top 50 defensive end Ashton Porter yesterday. Porter chose Northwestern over Texas, Baylor, Arkansas, and Arizona.
This isn’t Pat Fitzgerald’s first foray into the heart of Texas, as Northwestern has 3-star linebacker Justin Cryer from Royal HS in Brookshire, Texas, who is also Porter’s cousin.
Fitzgerald’s Texas pipeline included several key cogs on the Wildcat's 2020 Big Ten Western Division Championship squad with All-American safety Brandon Joseph and linebacker Paddy Fisher.
Porter’s Northwestern Commitment
When Brian Barfield of Houston Style Magazine interviewed Porter on why he chose Northwestern over 33 national scholarship offers, Porter said, “Academics, I am trying to be the best engineer in the world. I also am very interested in sports media, and Northwestern has an excellent communications department.”
Porter participated in the Dallas Rival Camp Series back in April and was named the MVP of his position group, he mentioned that he needs to continue refining his craft at defensive end.
“I need to work on beating double teams,” Porter responded when asked about his focus for the upcoming season. “I am good in one-on-ones, but I need to get better at going against double teams. Coach Marty Long (defensive line coach at Northwestern) pointed some things out to me after watching film and gave me some pointers I can take heading into the season.”
Background Info on Porter
Porter began to get national attention during his sophomore season where he posted 32 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 4 sacks where Cy Ranch participates in the highest classification in Texas high school football. He was unanimously selected first team all-district after that season.
During Porter’s junior season he accrued 44 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 8 QB Hurries, 3 sacks and an offensive touchdown.
Prospect Analysis on Porter
Porter is explosive as a strong side defensive end who played his junior season at 6’4” 240 pounds per his highlight reel.
Porter plays the edge position primarily from a 3-point stance, but highlights indicate Cy Ranch deploys Porter from a 2-point stance something very familiar in the NFL from edge rushers like a T.J. Watt.
Porter has great footwork, and his feet are constantly moving. He leverages his speed in very effective manors and possesses an excellent burst from his stance that gives opposing offensive tackles fits.
Porter has great handwork when engaging offensive lineman and possesses plenty of moves to evade tackles in one-on-one situations.
Like Porter mentioned, double teams seem to frustrate Porter a bit, he needs to work on getting lower and working more on getting to the inside versus being strung out on the outside. I expect his senior season he will improve at this aspect.
Porter demonstrated at the Dallas Rival Camp Series the ability to lineup on the edge and the interior.
Porter when he arrives in Evanston would need to put on some weight but possesses a similar build to former Illinois Consensus All-American and Ted Hendricks Award winner Whitney Mercilus.