[caption id="attachment_5148" align="aligncenter" width="700"]
Robert Porcher IV would be best at DT over DE. [Credit: Harley Taylor][/caption]When Robert Porcher IV decommitted from Nebraska in December, Virginia Tech got back involved in his recruitment almost immediately after the Cornhuskers had beaten out the Hokies for his first commitment in late June. The Hokies then brought him on campus on the third weekend of January and sealed the deal with Porcher announcing on the Monday after his visit that he had committed to Virginia Tech.
Porcher was a great get for the Hokies as a three-star recruit that is listed on 247 Sports
as having had 35 offers including ones from VT, Nebrasks, Michigan, Michigan State, USC, Louisville, Mississippi State, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Missouri, California, Arizona, NC State, Indiana, Iowa State, Syracuse, Rutgers, and more offers from non-power 5 programs.
Porcher also has some NFL lineage as his father, Robert Porcher, was a three-time Pro Bowler for the Detroit Lions that played in the NFL from 1992 to 2004. That family lineage seemed to help make him a more national recruit with offers coming from all over the country along with the fact that he is a quality defensive linemen that has the versatility to play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense.
Of course, Virginia Tech's base defense has 4 down linemen, but Porcher's play in a 3-4 scheme for a lot of high school shows that he is a versatile guy who could end up at either DE or DT depending on how he can fill out his frame.
First, Porcher comes in with a plenty of size at 6'3'' and 255 pounds but his speed is average for a defensive end at this point and he would definitely need to add 20 to 25 pounds of weight on to move inside to defensive tackle. If Porcher can add that type of weight, the Orlando signee might just be able to push for some playing time as a backup based on what we saw from his tape.
Porcher is a solid athlete that has good speed, a very good burst off the line of scrimmage and a decent amount of strength with a 6'3'' 255 pound frame that may be able to add the 25 to 30 pounds of weight that would be ideal for him to add to play DT. Porcher is a solid athlete overall, but some of his success is due in part to the fact that he isn't as raw as a lot of defensive linemen are coming out of high school and knows how to use the athleticism, strength, and speed he has to his advantage.
For a defensive linemen, Porcher has above-average awareness and is able to see when he needs to track backwards a little to get outside as he shows at one point in his highlight tape on Hudl where he goes from being blocked by a guard to getting across the line and preventing a solid run from turning into a big play. Porcher also does a good job at getting his hands up to block a pass when he can't get to the quarterback as you see him on tape deflecting multiple passes.
Porcher isn't too bad with his hands but his number one asset is the fact that he is a very good bull rusher which is more built for someone playing at DT than DE in a scheme with 4 down linemen. Porcher already has good strength for a 255-pound high school lineman and while he is solid with his hands, his ability to bull rush and then slip off his blocker to get a sack or shut down an opposing runner.
Porcher also plays with a high motor and plenty of toughness and aggression along with not being afraid to power through the middle of the line to get pressure on the quarterback or break into the backfield.
Porcher reminds me some of Vinny Mihota despite the fact that I think Porcher would be better off at DT than DE as someone that could play on the edge and be fairly productive but unlike Mihota, seems more likely to be more productive on the inside where he'd go from having below-average DE speed to above-average DT speed along with being a very good bull rusher that does a lot of minor things well similar to Mihota who didn't put up a lot of stats but was consistently productive.
If Robert Porcher IV can bulk up to around 275-280 pounds and move inside to DT, I wouldn't be surprised to see him push for some backup playing time at DT especially if Steve Sobczak doesn't return though a redshirt does seem likely for Porcher despite that. Robert Porcher IV is an intriguing talent and solid pickup for the Hokies that should be featured at DT and not DE in the long run.