By Greg Gulas
What started out as a dream and was essentially a labor of love has turned into big business for Mark Porter, founder of ScoutingOhio.com.
The fact his site has added Pennsylvania, North Carolina and South Carolina players verifies how important college coaches value his opinions.
Speaking to the Curbstone Coaches during Monday’s weekly luncheon meeting at the Blue Wolf Banquet Center, Porter said there isn’t much down time now.
“Joe Butler is known as the godfather of Pennsylvania scouting and the only thing that he lacked was the technology, so we lent him that portion and we became partners,” said Porter.
“My cousin, Greg, does the scouting in both North and South Carolina and both areas are now a permanent part of our site.
“We found out quickly that football season never ends.”
Social media has had a major impact on the scouting industry since Porter produced his first highlight film of Canfield High back in 2003.
“The addition of Twitter and Facebook tells us that the industry never sleeps,” he said. “When you go to your computer, it doesn’t take you very long to realize that something is always breaking on the recruiting front.”
In eight years Porter’s reputation has grown to the point where many colleges now depend on his assessment of players when formulating their recruiting plans.
Porter’s wife, Stephanie, has been an integral part of the site’s success as she takes more than 1,500 photos at a game while he shoots highlight film, looking for 20 to 30 of the best plays.
“We have photos and film on every one of the top 200 players that are currently featured on our website,” he said. “Of those players, 180 already have Division I scholarship offers.
“We’d like to think that we’ve been a part of the selection process. It humbles you when coaches tell you that your website has helped speed up the recruitment process,” Porter added.
The website also has developed a 2013 watch list with 40 of the top up-and-coming sophomores featured.
“These are the no-brainers that we have already identified. These are players that we will scouting over the next two years,” Porter said.
Porter said luck has been on his side.
“I’m like Forrest Gump; in the right place at the right time and I’ve just kept running with it,” he said. “My website at the time was on the cutting edge and we just snuck in the back door, but must continue to work hard to give the schools the information that they are looking for.”