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2024 NFL Draft

Eagles Sign Joey Porter Jr.’s Cousin, Shon Stephens, after Rookie Camp Tryout

The Philadelphia Eagles are signing Joey Porter Jr.’s cousin Shon Stephens after a rookie minicamp tryout that was successful.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Shon Stepehns

The Philadelphia Eagles are signing Ferris State cornerback Shon Stephens, who was scheduled to come to the Pittsburgh Steelers rookie minicamp this weekend, according to Justin Melo of the Draft Network. Stephens, the cousin of Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr., now has his chance in the NFL with the Eagles.

Stephens, who is 5-foot-8 1/2 and 180 pounds, played at the Division II level with Ferris State and West Liberty. Twice during his college career, he was expected to transfer to a Power Five program, only to have the NCAA rule against his immediate eligibility.

Despite his small-school status, Stephens made a case for himself in this year’s draft, as he posted a 40-yard dash in the 4.3’s and repped 225 pounds 19 times on the bench press at Michigan State’s pro day, according to Justin Melo of The Draft Network.

Stephens was at Michigan State’s pro day to get more exposure from NFL teams, which is often the case for smaller school players. Per Melo, 29 of 32 NFL teams sent scouts to watch Stephens perform, and one of those teams were the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers met with Stephens at the College Gridiron Showcase, sources told Nick Farabaugh of Steelers Now.

Stephens said that he and Porter expect to train together some this offseason.

“We always lift in the weight room,” Stephens said. “He has his own weight room in the house. We compete, Joey Porer Jr., my other cousin Jacob, my brothers, we all just compete in the weight room and push each other. Even Big Joey (Porter Sr.) comes in an he lifts. We’re all just real competitive.”

“Show stoppa !! 20 bench, 4.3 forty!! Tape go crazy! What else you need, League him!” Porter wrote on his Instagram Story about Stephens’ pro day performance.

In 11 games this past season, Stephens picked off eight passes while returning one for a touchdown. Stephens has had a whirlwind NCAA career. Partially, by the fact that he simply did not play from 2019 to 2021. Twice, he was supposed to transfer to the FBS level, both to Power 5 teams. First, it would have been to Penn State in 2021 as a walk-on. Then, this past portal season, it would have been to Purdue to play for Ryan Walters. Yet, the NCAA denied him immediate eligibility the first time and rejected his hardship waiver this time around.

The hardship waiver was based on Stephens staying behind to help his mother, who had fallen ill during the three years he did not play. At Penn State, his degree progress was not far enough along, either, but he graduated in 2022 from West Liberty. Hoping to gain the extra year of eligibility, Stephens hoped the NCAA would be more lenient on his situation, but they were not.

But the same thing has occurred at every stop — Stephens has balled out. Stephens was a first-team All-American at the Division II level with West Liberty, just outside Wheeling, West Virginia. It is all but certain that the Steelers have at least heard about Stephens, given their proximity to West Liberty. He put up eight interceptions a year ago and is firmly on the radar of the NFL as a result of his play this year as well. The Steelers came to watch Stephens in 2022 while he was at West Liberty, and so there was already a level of familiarity.

Players that are invited to rookie minicamp will come to Pittsburgh on a tryout basis for two or three practices. The Steelers usually have a two-practice session on the Friday and Saturday that are two weeks after the first round of the NFL Draft, which this year falls on May 10-11.

In addition to tryouts, first-year players and drafted and undrafted rookies can participate. Last year, the Steelers signed running back Alonzo Graham from Morgan State and outside linebacker Toby Ndukwe from Sam Houston State out of their rookie minicamp tryout class.

The Steelers are looking for help at slot cornerback, where they signed West Virginia’s Beanie Bishop as an undrafted free agent, and Stephens could slot there at the NFL level. Both Bishop and Stephens are expected in Pittsburgh next weekend.