With his 6-foot-4 frame and 48-second quarter-mile speed, Darien Porter likely could have gone to about any Division I track and field program in the country.

Porter enjoys track. He loves football.

The Bettendorf junior wide receiver gave coach Matt Campbell and Iowa State's football program a verbal commitment Wednesday night for the 2019 season.

"Football always has been my first love and passion," Porter said. "I've always dreamed of playing at the collegiate level.

"I had to take the opportunity when it came about."

Porter took unofficial visits to Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota and Notre Dame this fall.

During his mid-October trip to Ames, when Iowa State clobbered Kansas, the Cyclones extended an offer.

"Before that game started, coach Campbell took me into his office and told me how much they had been watching and researching me lately," Porter said. "They liked my character to go along with my game."

More than two months after that visit, Porter decided to commit. Iowa State is his lone scholarship offer at this point.

"Ever since the visit, Iowa State has been the frontrunner for me," Porter said. "I haven't known when to pull the trigger on making my decision, but after developing a strong 2019 class and how well I fit into their system, I couldn't help myself.

"Everything feels right."

Hindered by a wrist injury this season that forced him to miss three games, Porter was productive when he was on the field for the Bulldogs. He had 10 receptions for 251 yards and four touchdowns.

Porter had a pivotal 31-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter of Bettendorf's quarterfinal win over North Scott.

"My work at Bettendorf isn't done," Porter said. "Hopefully, I can boost my numbers a little bit and make it a little more attractive. It is important to put everything into this team first."

Recently, Porter had surgery to clean up an infection in his right wrist.

The weight room, he said, is a big priority in the next year. He is listed at just 165 pounds.

"This offseason and into next year, I want to continue to add weight and muscle mass," Porter said. "Hopefully by the end of the high school season next year, I'll be around 185-190. That's my target, and that's what the Iowa State coaches are hoping for as well."

Porter is the fourth player to pledge to Iowa State in the 2019 class. He joins two other receivers.

He was drawn to the Cyclones' coaching staff, facilities and scheme.

"Knowing how much they like tall receivers and they really like to spread the wealth in terms of passing the ball, that was attractive to me," Porter said. "It was a big part of the decision."

Porter has been a star on the track for the Bulldogs.

He is the reigning Class 4A 400-meter state champion and anchored Bettendorf to a sprint medley relay title last May as well.

His name is in the school record book already for the 400 (48.24 seconds) along with the 1,600 relay (3:20.39) and sprint medley relay (1:32.09).

Porter hasn't ruled out running track in college. Iowa State's football coaches have left that door open.

"It depends on the times I continue to run," Porter said. "If I accomplish the high goals I'm setting, I'll most likely consider continuing track as well.

"If they don't improve like I want them to in the next year or so, I'll most likely focus on just football."

Porter's goal this spring is to run a 46.9 in the 400. Iowa City High's Calvin Davis has the all-time Iowa best at 47.01 in 2002.

"It'll take some training and a little more strength, but I can accomplish it," Porter said. "Setting my goals high is the main priority."


Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.