BETTENDORF, Ia. — The words roll out gently with every answer — genuine and smooth, full of humility and eagerness to swat the praise elsewhere. His soft voice doesn’t quite fit his 6-foot-4 frame.
His play is unquestionably loud. It’s a vivacious blend of raw speed, back-breaking quickness and budding strength, but Darien Porter’s demeanor deviates from there. There’s no egotistical edge, no basking in the recruiting glow.
Just a football player.
A special one.
“I’m not a huge look-at-me person,” Porter said. “I’m more of a quiet guy. I don’t really like a whole lot of attention.”
There’s been plenty of it along this ascension into football stardom, but Porter has waded through without drifting from the fundamental values that shape his humble makeup. Nothing changed after the Division I offers arrived. There was no personality shift after Porter cemented his future as an Iowa State commit last December. His status in and around Bettendorf has only intensified since. Inside is still the same kid.
Throughout the cutthroat climate of football recruiting, that’s never a given. Arrogance runs rampant in that world, where stars, offer lists, rabid fan bases and endless praise from collegiate coaches can quickly inflate a prospect’s self-worth.
Porter hasn’t taken the bait.
That grounded mindset has propelled him far, transcending Porter from a body full of potential to one of Iowa’s most heralded football names. Over the last 20 recruiting classes, Iowa State has landed just three wide receivers who ranked higher than Porter, according to 247Sports Composite. In that same time frame, the entire state has produced only seven wideouts better than the Bettendorf standout. That list includes multiple guys with NFL experience.
Like a deep ball heaved toward the end zone, Porter is trying to chase down similar greatness.
“We’ve just tried to teach our kids to always be appreciative of opportunities and don’t waste them,” Lionel Porter, Darien’s father, said. “Take things in stride and be humble.”