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Hart's Aaron Porter: A safety’s deception

Prep football: Hart High safety Aaron Porter’s looks may be deceiving, he’s a hitter

Posted: August 28, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 28, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Hart senior safety Aaron Porter has been teased by his classmates for being undersized, but he makes up for his lack of size by hitting hard on the field.

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Coming off a strong defensive season for Hart football last year, the question could have received a number of different responses.

Who is Hart’s best player on defense this year?

Head coach Mike Herrington answered without hesitation.

“Aaron Porter,” he says.

Yep, he’s the one. The 5-foot-10 inch, 160-pound quiet kid playing safety.

The senior has crept his way up the depth chart and into the role as Hart’s anchor in a young defensive backfield.

At first glance, it could be easy to mistake Porter for a sophomore vying for varsity playing time — and then the game actually starts.

The player that has been teased for being the “small kid” growing up is hearing less and less criticism with every devastating hit he delivers in practice.

“I try to make up for it a lot by working hard and knowing where I’m supposed to be on every single play,” Porter says of his size.

One of the most common sources of criticism came from his brothers.

His older brother Brooks played on the offensive line for Bishop Alemany High, where he was listed at 6-foot-2, 240 pounds in his senior year. The 2008 graduate was named to the All-Mission League first team as a senior.

His younger brother Blake is 6-feet, 250 pounds and is a sophomore starting offensive lineman for Hart.

“I don’t know where they got their stuff,” Aaron says. “My dad’s not really that big of a guy.”

Given the size difference, offensive line wasn’t an option for Aaron, so he decided to make the best of his position on defense.

And according to one teammate, he has.

“That kid does not fear anybody or anything,” says senior teammate and running back Dylan Edwards. “He will run full speed into a brick wall and it wouldn’t bother him at all.”

Having a brother on the team has added a new, dynamic too.

Sure, Blake has the size advantage on his older brother, but Aaron maintains that he would win a head-to-head tackling drill between the two.

Blake didn’t necessarily agree, but he admits he’s been impressed with Aaron’s work at practice.

“He’s one of those guys who doesn’t stand out too much in 7-on-7 drills, but once you get the pads on, that’s when you can see what he does,” Blake says.

What he’s done so far on varsity: 59 tackles as a junior, which was second-best on a defense with seven senior starters. He also grabbed an interception last season.

As a senior, he’ll be counted on to hold down the secondary, which features at least one sophomore starter and is reloading at most other positions.

The combination of last season’s performance and the no-nonsense attitude he’s brought to fall camp this year has all but silenced the critics.

“He has (been teased) in the previous three years of his high school career,” Herrington says. “But I think because of his performance on the field last year as a junior, he doesn’t get teased as much, but you still hear a joke about being the runt of the family every once in a while.”

Most of those jokes are probably coming from the mouth of his little brother.

“I don’t want to give him too much credit. He’s my brother,” Blake says, before reluctantly calling his brother the hardest hitter on the team.

Perhaps adding to Aaron’s mystique on the field is his constant business-like, almost icy demeanor. He’s the first one to admit he doesn’t like talking or yelling on the field, earning him the title of a “silent assassin” by Herrington.

Aaron is the last player you’d see goofing off or messing around in practice. When it’s time for football, it’s all or nothing.
“If there’s one thing he gets teased for, it’s that he’s the most quiet guy on the team,” Edwards says.

Fortunately, Blake’s more outgoing personality balances it out.

Aaron says he was skeptical about the idea of having his brother on the same team at first, but the two have provided each other with friendly competition and constant humbling.

The kind of humbling Aaron is not only used to, but has embraced and become a better player because of.

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