Highland High School’s Sam LaPorta is looking forward to the day when he can join older sisters Olivia and Alex as college athletes.
At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, there’s little doubt the junior wide receiver will join those ranks at the NCAA Division I level. He has caught 43 passes for 820 yards and 12 touchdowns this season — all among the best in the St. Louis area — for the 7-0 Bulldogs.
During this past summer, LaPorta competed at the invitation-only University of Nebraska Prospects Camp and left with a scholarship offer from Lindenwood University. Last weekend, he made an unofficial visit to Northwestern University in Evanston, where he watched the Wildcats lose to Penn State.
But with the rest of this year and his senior season ahead of him, LaPorta is in no rush to make a college decision.
“I have no idea where I want to go to college. I don’t know exactly what I’m interested in or what I want to study,” he said. “When I narrow it down, I will start looking at schools with programs I’m interested in and what schools are interested in me.
“I’ve still got some time before I decide on where I will take my official visits.”
Against Mississippi Valley Conference rival Waterloo last Friday, LaPorta showed the form that has helped keep Highland undefeated. Teaming with senior quarterback Garrett Marti on touchdown passes of 3, 54 and 9 yards, LaPorta finished with nine receptions for 199 yards in a 68-24 victory.
“Garrett and I have worked hard in the summer for the last three years on timing and pass routes,” LaPorta said. “He made good throws, and I was able to make some plays. It worked out well.”
The Marti-LaPorta combination is something Highland coach Jimmy Warnecke never gets tired of watching. The Bulldogs’ lethal duo has been instrumental in the success of the team for the past three years.
Highland will be in search of its fourth MVC title in the past five years when it plays at Mascoutah on Friday.
“Sam is just one of those players who fits the mold here at Highland,” coach Jimmy Warnecke said. “His work ethic is second to none, both in practice, during games and in the classroom. He’s a vocal leader who isn’t afraid to get on a freshman if he thinks he’s messing up, or one of his best friends who he’s known since he was seven years old. He also leads by example by doing things the right way.”
LaPorta caught two of his touchdowns against Waterloo during the Bulldogs’ 37-point, third-quarter offensive explosion.
“It was just one those quarters where everything we did worked. I think we scored on the first play on two of those touchdown drives,” LaPorta said. “We’ve had a very good season up to this point, but we all know that what counts is what we do in the playoffs.”
Warnecke thinks LaPorta could be an impact contributor at either wide receiver or tight end at the high NCAA Division I level. As much was reported by PowerMizzou.com following LaPorta’s Nebraska camp workout.
According to the recruitment web site, LaPorta was timed at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash and reached 9-feet-9-inches in the broad jump.
“Sam is just a great athlete, first of all,” Warnecke said. “He runs great routes, has excellent hands, and he has the ability to make plays after he catches the football.
“He has what I call deceptive speed. With those long strides, he is faster than he might appear. He also has that second gear in that, when he needs to he get behind a defender he can do it.”
LaPorta says he hates to lose, even if he’s just playing against his older sisters.
“I’m very competitive in everything I do, even if it’s playing horse with my sisters at home,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to the day when I am playing sports in college like my sisters.”
Olivia LaPorta is a junior on the volleyball team at Fordham University in New York City, and Alex LaPorta is a freshman basketball player at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.