— By Bill Cornwell
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Owen Porter was without phone reception on a family camping trip recently as Marshall football fans wondered if the defensive end from Wayne County would join fellow veteran Herd defenders Micah Abraham and Eli Neal in returning to play a final season with the Herd in 2023.
Marshall fans got their hope Tuesday when Porter confirmed on a zoom call he is returning to the Thundering Herd for a sixth season.
“I didn’t know that I had to make an announcement on Twitter, but I wanted to set the record straight,” Porter said. “We had a great season last year with a Top 10 win and a nine-win season, but it felt like we had some unfinished business in the conference.”
Porter’s return strengthens a Marshall defense that was among the stingier units in college football while finishing No. 6 in scoring defense and No. 5 in rush defense.
Porter, of nearby Spring Valley High School, had a stellar 2022 season. He recorded 9.5 sacks with 60 totals tackles, including 15 for loss. He also had two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, nine quarterback hurries and an interception in Marshall’s win at Notre Dame that ended the Fighting Irish’s attempt at a late comeback.
Last week, Marshall head coach Charles Huff hinted that Porter may have had some NFL Draft options after a season in which he was a first-team All-Sun Belt Conference pick, but Porter says a return was always in the works.
“This is home and I wanted to be here at Marshall,” Porter said. “These guys are my brothers and I like what coach Huff and his staff is building here. I don’t have any second thoughts about the decision I made.”