KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Highland, Illinois, native is set to make his National Football League debut on primetime television.
Sam LaPorta, 22, will make his NFL debut with the Detroit Lions against the Kansas City Chiefs at 7:20 p.m. on Thursday. The game is on 5 On Your Side.
LaPorta was selected by the Lions in the second round of the 2023 draft, No. 34 overall.
He attended Highland High School and played wide receiver and defensive back. He had 3,793 receiving yards and 50 touchdowns, the second-most touchdown passes in state history.
Several businesses in Highland are hosting watch parties for his debut.
Fans can purchase tickets to watch the game and the rookie at The Olde Wicks Factory in Highland. Guests 21 and over can attend and play games including squares and football bingo. All proceeds will be donated to Leaps of Love.
Click here for more information.
Sam's Pizza and Pub Inc. is also hosting a watch party with deals on drinks and food for guests. Click here for more information.
LaPorta played college football at the University of Iowa.
As a tight end, he had his best year during the 2021-2022 season with 53 receptions and 670 yards. He was named the Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year in 2022.
In 2021, he led the Big Ten tight ends in receptions, yards, yards after catch, yards after contact and catches for 15+ yards.
During his senior year, he helped the Hawkeyes finish third in the Big 10 West with a record of 8-5. He helped the team win 21-0 in the Music City Bowl against the Kentucky Wildcats.
Overall, he played 46 games, had 153 receptions, 1,786 yards and five touchdowns. LaPorta set a school record for tight ends with 153 career receptions.
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