Jackson Porter, Mt. Hebron class of 2013, is now in the NFL. The local football star signed on to the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent. But this star athlete began his journey under the Friday night lights on the Mt. Hebron field.
When asked if he ever saw himself in the league, Porter answered, “I always knew I had the ability to play in the NFL, especially when people kept telling me I had the talent. I felt like no one would just say that and there not be a reason behind it.”
At the conclusion of his high school career, Jackson Porter was recruited to the University of Massachusetts. Throughout his collegiate career, he always remained focused on his ultimate goal: playing in the NFL.
“During my college career, we also had guys before me who got their shot at the league. So seeing them do it gave me confidence and made me feel like I could one day get my opportunity as well,” said Porter
Just like many athletes, he hit mental blocks at some given time during the game.
“There were definitely moments throughout my student-athlete career that gave me doubts. Football is an extremely emotional game and can be very mentally taxing,” said Porter. “I just always told myself I was built for it and I was built for the game. I relied heavily on my faith as well and that got me through it.”
Athletes like Porter had to know early on that they wanted to make a legacy with their name.
“I would say my freshman year of high school was when I really started to take football and my craft more seriously. It was more like a clean slate for me as well, as an opportunity to start over and make a name for myself,” said Porter.
The Mt. Hebron football team taught Porter some valuable lessons as well.
“The Mt. Hebron football program was able to mold me best by teaching me how to stay strong in the face of adversity. Our football record wasn’t the best,” Porter said. “It could have been, and there were definitely some games where I wish things would have gone differently because I hated losing. But I still had a deep passion for the game and I learned to take each loss as a lesson/learning experience which in turn made me more mentally stronger.”
Jackson Porter has accomplished goals that other football players dream of, especially the student athletes of Mt. Hebron. Porter has some helpful tips for students hoping to play professionally.
“Some key advice would be to just figure out what it is you really want to do in life to be able to leave your mark. Find your passion early; life is too short to have someone else decide your fate.”
Coach Teyarnte Carter has 17 years of experience as a track coach, and almost 14 years have been spent at Mt. Hebron. She taught Jackson for four years in the Track & Field program at Mt. Hebron, and she played an active role in his athletic career.
“Being a consistent coach, always believing in him when no one else would, and explaining that you never give up on your dreams taught discipline, dedication, and determination,” said Carter.
Her advice to athletes that want to get on the same level as Jackson Porter? Carter suggests, “Set short and long term goals. Never forget your purpose. Don’t lose sight of your blessing.”
And Jackson Porter has not let up.
“The next step for me is to continue training for the rest of this year/NFL season. This season is completely different from anything else we have experienced before so the possibility of getting another call from a team is very likely,” stated Jackson.
Jackson Porter carries his experiences from the Mt. Hebron field onto the Colts’ turf.