Monday Morning Quarterback: In PROFILE: Cam Porter La Salle Running Back Attributes All to God
Editor’s note: On Saturday, December 19, Ohio State played Northwestern for the Big 10 Championship. Cam had 16 carries, for 61 yards and scored Northwestern’s only touchdown. This article appeared in The Catholic Telegraph.
by M.D. Pitman
Cam Porter is more than a bruising running back for the Division II state champion La Salle Lancers, and is not defined by his gridiron accomplishments – of which there are many.
The first thing anyone should mention about this 17-year-old senior is his character, which is above reproach, said La Salle Principal Aaron Marshall.
“He is a fantastic person. You can’t say enough good things about Cam Porter,” he said. “He is a top-shelf, quality person.”
Porter is one of the best high school running backs in the state of Ohio. The 5’ 11”, 205-pound running back was named to the First Team All-State for Division II as he accounted for more than 1,200 total offensive yards, scored 20 touchdowns for the Lancers this season as they went 13-2 and won the Division II state title. He also tallied 38 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery on defense as an outside linebacker.
“I’m out there doing what I’m doing, but it’s God allowing me to do what I’m doing. It’s God protecting me through it all,” said Porter, who will play football next year with the Northwestern Wildcats.
It’s not uncommon for Porter to emphasize his relationship with God, as he said he takes his “spiritual life very seriously.” That earnestness was on display this past winter during La Salle’s admission night for prospective families, Marshall said. Porter was one of the students to give a testimonial about his experience at La Salle, a Catholic high school in Cincinnati’s west side.
“You think a kid like that is going to get up and talk about football, going to Northwestern or whatever the case may be,” Marshall said. “But the first thing he talked about was his spiritual journey, his faith and development at La Salle, and how that’s meant the most to him. That speaks to the core of who he is.”
Porter, a College Hill resident, said friends and family told him about La Salle, and he felt at home at the school.
“I wanted to surround myself around people who shared my same beliefs with God,” he said.
“He is solid in his faith,” said Chris Winiarski, Porter’s religion teacher at La Salle. “When questions are asked, it’s not only what he says by knowing the right answer but how he says it in such an authentic and humble way.”
Winiarski’s class is Porter’s favorite, which he calls “a different type” of religion class. The class includes a weekly service-learning component where students go out in the community. Some volunteer at service organizations, while some, including Porter, tutor kids for about an hour a week at Midway School.
“I just love talking to the kids,” Porter said. “I enjoy helping those kids and giving them a positive role model.”
Winiarski said Porter’s dedication to his Christian beliefs is on display every week, whether it’s in the classwork, his service learning in the community or when the class puts together a prayer service using scripture readings for the upcoming Sunday Mass.
Marshall said Porter is the way he is because he comes from “an outstanding family,” which includes his sister, Kayla, 21, and “great role models in his parents,” Rodney and Cynthia Porter.
“You can’t say enough good things about him,” Marshall said.
Porter will study business when he starts at Northwestern University in the fall. He will take all that he’s learned at La Salle, including the ability to handle adversity, which he and his football teammates learned during the team’s losing season his junior year.
“Life isn’t always easy,” said Porter. He deals with the difficulties the same way he handles the successes, which is to “pray as much as I can.”
(Photos by Mary Hoffman)