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Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. forgoing bowl game to prepare for 2023 NFL Draft

It’s that time of year again when top 2023 NFL Draft prospects announce they have played their final college football game, choosing to skip what may be the most important matchup of their collegiate career.

Penn State Nittany Lions cornerback Joey Porter Jr. has become one of the first to jump in that pool, announcing he will not be participating in his team’s upcoming bowl matchup.

For Porter Jr., who’s viewed as a potential first-round draft pick, his entire focus will now be on preparing for what many refer to as the biggest job interview of his life, the NFL pre-draft process.

Yet, part of that process will include a line of questions about his decision to go pro when many of his teammates at Penn State feel their season is only reaching its peak.

The Nittany Lions, who are currently ranked 8th in the nation, is in the midst of a 10-2 season and are awaiting their bowl opponent. There’s a chance they could even reach the highly sought-after Rose Bowl. That’s what makes Porter Jr.’s timing all the more interesting.

Related: College Football Playoff 2022-’23: Latest CFP rankings, CFB Playoff bracket projection after Week 13

Joey Porter Jr.’s ready to continue his father’s NFL legacy

While Porter Jr. is not the first, and he won’t be the last prospect to skip his team’s bowl game, it’s certainly a fascinating development.

After leading the nation with 11 pass deflections, it’s possible Porter Jr. could have put on a great performance in his bowl matchup to further establish his draft stock. Scouts surely wanted another chance to evaluate him going against top competition, but it’s also hard to argue with his choice.

He may already be a first-round pick, which would give him bragging rights over his father, who was selected in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers back in 1999. Yet, if Porter Jr. feels that good about his current chances to be selected so highly, is there really a need to risk injury?

While some may feel irritated by the decision, Porter Jr. is simply doing what he feels is best for him, his family, and his future development by avoiding injury, knowing he has much bigger days ahead in the NFL, much like his dad during his 13 seasons in the league.

Either way, we can’t wait to see the 6-foot-2, 195-pound cornerback perform at the next level.

Related: 2023 NFL mock draft: Houston Texans land Bryce Young, 3 QBs land in Round 1