The ever evolving Arizona State coaching staff secured another quality addition, as Larry Porter was named the team's running backs coach. The move was widely known for days, but finally became official today. Porter replaces Chris Thomsen, who left ASU six weeks after his hiring to take over the offensive line coaching duties at Texas Tech.
Most recently, Porter was the head coach at his alma mater Memphis the past two seasons. A former Tiger running back from 1990 to 1993, Porter struggled over his two seasons as a head coach, posting a 3-21 record.
While he made for a poor general, he's proven to be an outstanding lieutenant as a running backs coach and recruiter.
Prior to his return to Memphis, Porter had great success at LSU, helping the Tigers field a very effective ground game from 2005 to 2009. Porter served in the same capacity at Oklahoma State (2002 to 2004), where he produced a 1,000-yard rusher in each of his seasons, and at Arkansas State (1999 to 2001), where he also had a 1,000-yard back during his final two years. He began his coaching career in 1998 as Tennessee-Martin's running backs coach.
While he's a proven commodity in developing running backs, his value to a program is also just as impressive--and maybe more so--off the field than on it.
In addition to his coaching ability, he's an ace recruiter. At LSU, he also served as recruiting coordinator. In that role, he twice won Rivals.com's Recruiter of the Year award, in 2007 and 2009. With ties to the fertile regions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, he will be a valuable asset to the Sun Devils. Porter, who only turns 40 in April, fits the new coaching staff mold of being young, energetic and ambitious.
With such a track record of success with the running back position, it's hard not to view him as an upgrade--at least in terms of position specific traits--over Thomsen.
Porter takes over a position that is perhaps the deepest and most talented on the Sun Devil roster. Returning starter Cameron Marshall topped 1,000 yards and tied a school record with 18 touchdowns. The 2012 recruiting class brought in four-star talent D.J. Foster who is an explosive play-maker, as well as the top-ranked junior college running back in Marion Grice, who is a bigger, more prototypical runner. Plus, ASU should get a healthy Deantre Lewis back after missing the 2011 season with a gunshot wound. In 2010, Lewis was a major threat in the running and passing games, posting 10 plays of over 20 yards from scrimmage.
Porter's hiring caps off a hectic week for the ASU coaching staff. Thomsen left for Texas Tech last Wednesday on National Signing Day. This past Tuesday, Ron West was hired from New Mexico to become the co-defensive coordinator.
Follow me on Twitter @BDenny29 for the latest on ASU football