Coen has high expectations for freshman receiver Shamar Porter

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, August 31, 2023

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He’s not been mentioned prominently during Kentucky’s preseason practices but 6-3, 205-pound freshman receiver Shamar Porter of Nashville was a four-star recruit and a player that UK offensive coordinator Liam Coen believes is a future star.

“He’s ran the 100 (meter dash) in 10.8 (seconds). He’s a big boy. He is physically bigger than (UK sophomore receiver) Barion (Brown) who is long-armed and wiry and can bend and torque his body, but Shamar is stronger,” Coen said. “Shamar might be more of a true receiver. Barion can just get the ball in his hands and score on any play. There is a difference in their play but I really hope Shamar can help us this year as a true freshman.”

Porter picked UK over Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi and was a top 30 receiver nationally in the On3 Consensus rankings. He had 32 catches for 557 yards and a team-high 10 touchdowns in 10 games as a high school senior when he averaged 17.4 yards per catch.

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“I am definitely committed to the offense, the weight room and being part of this team,” Porter said. “I am more of the quiet guy. I am the guy who just pops up and stuff just happens. I have got used to the offense. I am starting to get a mix of competing with the best.”

Porter said he was always the “fast guy” growing up and because his father is a bodybuilder who started him lifting weights at an early age.

“He wanted me to get physical and aggressive and put that in my skill set,” Porter said.

Porter knew Coen was going to come back to Kentucky when he committed. Coen visited his high school and the two started building a relationship before Porter arrived on campus.

“I really agree with his play calling, his offensive style, his spread offense. I just felt like this was a good spot for me and I am hungry to be part of his offense,” the UK freshman receiver said.

He admitted he was unsure if he would be at UK or not if Coen had not returned.

“I like the players. I get along with everybody. But I could not answer that question because fortunately he is at Kentucky,” Porter said.

He’s also thrilled that quarterback Devin Leary is now at Kentucky.

“Devin is really good. He definitely fits our offense and is definitely a piece that really works,” Porter said. “I like how he plays and his throwing style. It not only fits me but it fits with everybody. He’s just that good.”

Coen really likes that Porter and Anthony Brown, a four-star freshman receiver from Ohio, are both high-quality character individuals.

“When we recruit players we look at character first before athleticism. Now, does production bring tolerance? Absolutely. That’s true,” the UK offensive coordinator said. “They come to work every day; they are at school, they are doing what they are supposed to do, they are going to get good grades.

“They have a lot of support and those are the kids who you feel can take off when they get into the program and do start to have some success. They have the ability to do these things. Now we got to see them go do it once the season starts.”