By Alex Kozora
My interview with former Rice safety and 2014 prospect Paul Porras.
Q: What are your measurables? (height, weight, 40 time)
A: 6’1” 205 lbs 4.56 40 time
Q: Why did you choose Rice?
A: Rice has the perfect combination of academics and athletics. Coach David Bailiff does a great job for the players and I felt very comfortable when I went on my official visit.
Q: You spent the spring of your freshman year at a wide receiver. What caused the change?
A: I originally came into Rice as a safety. There were so many injuries at the wide receiver position going into fall camp that Coach Bailiff decided to move me to receiver to help with depth. I had a great camp and was working in with the 1’s and 2’s until I hurt my hamstring. I ended up redshirting and playing scout team receiver the rest of the year. After the season, I switched back to safety. Playing both ways in high school, I was always asked what position would I rather play in college. I found a liking to the defensive side of the ball because I am in more control of what I can do. I am able to make way more plays at safety, then when I was playing receiver and having to rely on the quarterback to throw me the ball.
Q: What are your strengths as a player?
A: Open field tackling, my elusiveness, football IQ, my reaction time, durability.
Q: What are your weaknesses?
A: Strength and I’m more quick than fast.
Q: How important is it to help take a team that struggled your first two seasons and make them a 10 win, bowl squad by your senior year?
A: It definitely was a humbling experience when I first got to Rice. Seeing the transformation Rice made over the past 5 years is unbelievable. It makes me feel good to see where Rice is going. Winning conferences and going to bowl games is going to be a regular thing for the years to come.
Q: What is your favorite individual moment as a player?
A: Scoring a 75 yard interception for a touchdown against Southern Miss was my most memorable moment at Rice.
Q: Favorite team moment (signature win, for example)?
A: Beating UTEP in the last game of the regular season in 2012 to get our 6th win and become bowl eligible was one of the best feelings of my football career.
Q: What role did you have at safety? In the box or coverage?
A: I played the KAT position in a 4-2-5 defense. I play on the weak side, where I play deep halves and also come down in the box and play like an outside linebacker. It is a hybrid linebacker/safety position. Play man coverage and blitz off the edge.
Q: How willing are you to play the run?
A: I am very comfortable playing the run, I’m 8th all time at Rice in tackles with 295 total tackles. Led the team in tackles in the 2012 season with 93 tackles.
Q: What injuries did you suffer in your career? Have you ever suffered a concussion?
A: No major injuries in my career at Rice. Suffered a concussion in high school. Never missed a game at Rice.
Q: Did you play on special teams? If so, what units?
A: In the first couple years at Rice, I was the gunner on punt team, I covered the gunners on punt return team, and was the safety on kickoff for four years.
Q: How are you preparing for the NFL Draft? Where are you working out?
A: I am working out at CES Performance in Houston, Texas. Training on combine specifics.
Q: Who has been your biggest supporter during your football career?
A: My dad has been my biggest supporter. He played 17 years pro ball in the CFL, AFL, and USFL. He was one of the main reasons I went to Rice.
Q: Tell me about your personality.
A: I’m very outgoing, will start up a conversation with anyone, optimistic, not afraid to speak my mind, get along well with others, fast learner, love challenges.
Q: If drafted/signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, what would be the best thing about playing for them?
A: Playing in such a great football city and in front of very loyal fans.
Thanks to Paul for the interview. Highlight videos aren’t usually the best way to judge an athlete, but a ten minute cut up to give you some sort of an idea of the player he could be.