Dante Booker, the talented Akron, Ohio, native and 4-star linebacker recruit, kept his college football options close to home, settling on Ohio State to continue his playing career in 2014.
247Sports' Steve Wiltfong passes along this statement from Booker: "Officially committed to THE Ohio State University."
The St. Vincent-St. Mary standout received interest from several programs including Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Notre Dame. Oklahoma and Nebraska also made an offer to the linebacker, who ranks No. 6 in the nation at the outside linebacker position, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.
At 6’4” and 210 pounds, Booker has the tall, slender frame to match his exceptional athleticism and play-making ability. He isn’t among the biggest or fastest linebackers in this recruiting class (4.72 40-yard dash), but he has the potential to be a tremendous football player at the next level.
Given his play-recognition skills and ability to fill downhill in defending the run, Booker will find a good fit at either inside or outside linebacker with the Buckeyes. He still needs to add some bulk and work on disengaging from blockers, but he has a very high ceiling at the college level.
How large of an impact will Booker have in his first year with the team?
The linebacker comes from a family of athletes. His father played both college (Auburn) and professional football (in the CFL and AFL) and his mother played college basketball at Ellet High School in Akron (per Michael Beaven of the Akron Beacon Journal).
Booker saw action on St. Vincent-St. Mary’s varsity squad as a freshman and shined as both a tight end and linebacker during his sophomore campaign. As St. Vincent-St. Mary head coach Dan Boarman explained to Beaven, Booker doesn’t look for extra attention or the fanfare typically afforded to elite high school prospects, even as one of the best players in Ohio:
It is hard getting a whole lot out of him because he is quiet. He is not a kid that is obnoxious. He is not one of those kids that will come up and say, ‘Make sure my picture is in the paper.’ He is just a humble and nice gentleman.
Talent and a good attitude are the makings of a tremendous football player, and that’s exactly what Ohio State is getting in Booker. He may need some time to develop at the next level, but there’s no question he’ll be a quality playmaker and key defensive component in his formative years with the Buckeyes.