MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When John Denver wrote the words “country roads take me home,” he didn’t know how true those words would be more than 50 years later for West Virginia freshman pitcher Robby Porco.

The right-hander grew up just north of Philadelphia, far away from the country roads in Denver’s famous song. But those roads are the only thing that brought Porco and his family through Morgantown, and started the process that led the tall pitcher to become a Mountaineer.

“I had come here on a tour, actually, for my sister. She’s two years older than me. We were coming from Penn State, and my dad’s from Pittsburgh, so we went up and saw Pitt,” Porco said following his first Big 12 start on Sunday. “And we were going to go down to Virginia Tech, and we just kind of happened by here. We were like oh yeah, we’ll check it out.”

Porco’s sister was sold on Penn State, and became a Nittany Lion. The budding baseball player, on the other hand, was impressed enough just by the bus tour he and his family took around Morgantown for the thought of going to WVU to enter his mind. Even better was that the tour took place in 2019 — the same year the Mountaineers earned the chance to be an NCAA Regional host.

“I made a mental note when I was reaching out to colleges, I’ll definitely reach out here,” added Porco.

From there, the country roads took a back seat, and baseball took over.

Porco reached out to West Virginia, and associate head coach Steve Sabins got in touch. The lanky hurler turned into one of the 500 best high school players in the country, according to Perfect Game. The site rated him as third-best right-handed pitcher in Pennsylvania.

Standing at 6 feet 8 inches tall, it’s hard to miss Porco. He joked that he wasn’t an abnormally big baby when he was born. However, a doctor told his family that the two-year-old child would grow to be 6-foot-7. As it turns out, his projection was an inch short.

“My parents aren’t too awfully tall. No one in my family is,” Porco said. “It’s just kind of a freak of nature thing.”

Being that tall, it’s seemingly impossible for Porco to be overlooked. However, in a later visit to West Virginia, this time for a baseball camp, he was far from being the center of attention.

“They actually sent me off to some satellite field, and nobody looked at me,” he said.

Porco hasn’t forgotten that he was sent to a secondary field at the camp. He made sure the coaches knew it not long after arriving on campus as a signed student-athlete.

“When I got here, I was like, ‘Do you remember that camp?’ And he was like, ‘We were all out of town,’ or whatever,” Porco said. “I guess it was unfortunate timing, but it worked out in the end.”

As a 2022 high school graduate, Porco did much of his recruiting virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions that were in place.

His extended frame is a bit of an awkward fit in the twin-XL bed in his dorm room. It’s also a must for Porco to duck his head when he boards WVU’s PRT system to get around campus.

But none of that matters to the freshman pitcher, especially as he’s coming off a 12-strikeout performance that earned him Big 12 co-Pitcher of the Week honors in just the second start of his collegiate career.

“I love it here, it feels like home,” Porco said. “When they offered me, it was a no-brainer.”