ASU OC Likens wants more out of receiver Geordon Porter in 2019

Feb 12, 2019, 3:52 PM
Arizona State wide receiver Geordon Porter, right, celebrates after wide receiver Kyle Williams, le...
Arizona State wide receiver Geordon Porter, right, celebrates after wide receiver Kyle Williams, left, scored a touchdown against Fresno State during the first half of the Las Vegas Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher)

TEMPE, Ariz. — At the end of his media availability last week, Arizona State offensive coordinator Rob Likens singled out sophomore wide receiver Geordon Porter and issued a challenge for him to take on a bigger role in the Sun Devils offense ahead of the 2019 season.

Without context, it seemed a peculiar request for a player who hasn’t caught a pass since high school and saw action in just two games as a true freshman.

But at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds and the proud owner of a 4.32 40-yard dash, Porter has the physical makeup to quickly become a reliable option for a receiving corps that will have to replace a potential first-round NFL Draft pick in N’Keal Harry.

Likens thinks Porter is up to the task, as does ASU’s second-leading receiver from last season and expected top wideout for next season, Brandon Aiyuk, who said Porter “has all the tools to be a good receiver.”

For Porter, the successful completion of Likens’ challenge will rely on his ability to harness his physical abilities and continue to grow comfortable with the college game.

“(Coach Likens) expects a lot from me,” Porter said. “When I’m in there, I just have to give it my all, make the right decisions and be consistent.”

Consistency is a trait that will earn Porter playing time.

Without Harry and past Aiyuk, who Likens described as “the guy” of the receiving group, there isn’t much consistency to bank on for the wide receivers.

Senior Kyle Williams and redshirt junior Frank Darby had over 400 receiving yards each last season, but both had stretches where they weren’t heavily involved in the offense.

In ASU’s bowl game, the first time without Harry in the lineup, receivers not named Brandon Aiyuk caught 10 passes for just 68 yards.

“We’re pretty young (at receiver),” Aiyuk said. “This is going to be Geordon’s team here in a year or two. We’re thin right now. He can help us out this year.”

Porter’s high school numbers point to a player who could primarily use his elite speed to make an impact.

He averaged over 17 yards per catch in two varsity seasons at Etiwanda (Calif.) and 10 of his 56 catches went for scores.

He caught the eyes of recruiters because of it. Porter was a Notre Dame verbal commit before backing out to eventually sign with ASU on signing day in February 2018, holding off late pushes from schools like Texas A&M, UCLA, Tennessee and Florida.

Even if his initial impact is limited to being a deep threat, it’s a good option for Likens and whoever ends up starting at quarterback for the Sun Devils.

Porter said he’s using the spring to continue developing into a multi-faceted receiver so that he can be used in several ways.

“Speed. That’s my game,” Porter said. “I think I’m developing into a complete receiver but the speed adds more flavor to it and that’s the main part.”

If Porter follows through on Likens’ challenge, he will play next season.

ASU has shown a willingness to play its best players, regardless of age, class or experience.

Likens wants more receivers in his rotation, too.

When he helped oversee Cal’s offense in 2014 — one that included 2016 No. 1 NFL Draft pick Jared Goff — he was rotating eight receivers.

“It does give me confidence,” Porter said of the coaching staff’s willingness to play young players. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, as long as you’re out there doing your job and doing it well you’ll be out there.”

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