Idaho native Porter Gustin only needed one NFL team to take a chance on him. After all 32 teams passed on him in the NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints signed the USC linebacker/edge rusher as an undrafted free agent.
Gustin joins a team with two other Idaho natives on its roster in quarterback Taysom Hill, a Highland High grad, and tight end Josh Hill, a Blackfoot High grad. Both also went undrafted.
Gustin received a $10,000 signing bonus from the Saints, according to The Times-Picayune, a sign of how much New Orleans coveted him.
Gustin, who attended Emmett High through his sophomore year, battled multiple injuries during his career at USC that hurt his draft stock. He only played 10 games his junior and senior seasons due to a broken toe and ankle. But he racked up 10 sacks in those games, and only one of those injuries came on the field. He broke a toe when he stubbed it in the weight room as a junior.
“I think there’s a lot I haven’t been able to show yet with injuries and some things going on,” Gustin told the Idaho Statesman before the draft. “I wasn’t really able to display everything I’ve improved upon and my abilities. I think I would be a great run stopper, a great pass rusher. I can drop into coverage. I can do it all.
“I’m fired up to go out and prove that.”
Gustin showed scouts he’s healthy at the NFL Scouting Combine last month, running a 4.69 40-yard dash and putting up 31 bench presses of 225 pounds, the most among edge rushers, and tied for the most among linebackers.
His times in the three-cone drill (6.97 seconds), 20-yard shuttle (4.22) and 60-yard shuttle (11.84) at USC’s pro day all would have ranked among the top four edge defenders at the combine.
Gustin was born at St. Luke’s in Downtown Boise and grew up outside of Emmett on the dirt Spring Creek Road above the Black Canyon Diversion Dam. He led Emmett to a Treasure Valley Optimist youth football championship at 11 years old, then became a four-sport star at Emmett High before moving to Utah after his sophomore year.
He started on the Huskies’ varsity football team as a sophomore at linebacker, tight end and quarterback, earning an honorable mention spot on the 4A Southern Idaho Conference team.
That year he was also a 4A second-team All-Idaho basketball player after leading the Huskies to their first state tournament win in 10 years. The league’s baseball coaches named him a second-team pitcher, and he competed in track on his off days.
But the school didn’t renew the contract of John Gustin, his father and Emmett’s boys basketball coach, after the season. So the family moved to Salem, Utah, where Gustin blossomed into a five-star recruit and signed with USC.
John Gustin graduated from Borah High in 1988 and played quarterback at the University of Wyoming. Gustin’s mother, Scarlett Overly Gustin, was Idaho’s all-class girls basketball player of the year for Meridian High in 1987.
EAGLE’S MANGUM GETS INVITES
Eagle High grad and BYU quarterback Tanner Magnum has accepted minicamp invitations from the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions, according to the BYU athletic department.
Minicamp invitees have not signed a contract with any team and must compete for a spot on an NFL roster.
Mangum played in 34 games and started 27 for BYU, completing 60 percent of his passes for 6,262 yards, 39 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. He broke out as a freshman, throwing for 3,377 yards and 23 TDs while leading to BYU to a 9-4 record. But he lost his starting job as a senior to freshman Zach Wilson.
Mangum, a 2012 Eagle High grad, has become a crusader for mental health after battling anxiety and depression in college.