Scouting Report, Video Highlights and Predictions for Ohio State's Dante Booker
Dante Booker, who committed to Ohio State in May, has skills similar to Ryan Shazier, a junior linebacker with great speed, agility and instincts.
Shazier is such a talented player that Urban Meyer clearly wanted a clone of him and may have found his man in Booker, who has the potential to be one of Ohio State's best linebackers in recent history. He is a talented prospect whom linebackers coach Luke Fickell will love.
Booker's talent and high school production warrant a closer look.
Who Is Dante Booker?
Dante Booker is an outside linebacker prospect who attends St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. The school is mostly known as NBA MVP LeBron James' former high school, but it has produced several talented football recruits.
In fact, James was once a star receiver for the Fighting Irish.
Over the past two seasons, Booker has 229 tackles, 20 sacks, two interceptions, eight passes broken up, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
He was the Ohio Division III Defensive Player of the Year in 2012 and has been selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Dante Booker's Scouting Report: Strengths
Booker is a 6'3", 212-pound linebacker who fits best on the flanks. He has a solid-looking frame, great athleticism and is a strong player.
Booker does not waste steps after the snap. He locates the ball quickly, sees alleys open up, inserts himself in a hurry and tracks running backs with good vision. Booker has a knack for laterally knifing through traffic to get to the football.
He can stab inside to fill interior gaps, while possessing the speed and range to pursue the football to the edges of the box. He's productive in space and has good tackling technique.
Booker's athleticism allows him to be a factor versus passing plays. He can buzz back into coverage, has the ability to flip his hips to shoot out of transition and shows solid speed to close on the ball. He can play both man and zone coverage.
Booker flashes solid blitz skills.
Dante Booker's Scouting Report: Weaknesses
At only 212 pounds, Booker lacks the bulk to consistently take on big college offensive linemen. He will play high at times and can struggle to escape from strong blockers at the point of attack.
Booker is more of a blitzer than a rusher on passing downs. He is not the kind of player who can line up, attack the pocket, use his hands to beat a blocker and finish on the passer.
Rather, Booker is better on designed pressure schemes, stunts, tricks and blitzes.
Dante Booker's Full Ride Highlights
Here is a highlight reel of Booker making plays, put together by the Full Ride video team. The second and third plays on this clip are great microcosms of Booker's strengths. His athleticism, solid instincts, speed and cover skills are on display.
Dante Booker's Junior Highlights
This clip is more than three minutes of highlights from Booker's junior season. At 0:29, notice how Booker uses his athleticism and awareness to locate a crossing receiver, flip his hips to get out of transition and flash good ball skills to make a play.
The final play shows his solid point-of-attack strength.
Booker will be a starter for the Buckeyes because he can play on all three downs. His worst-case scenario is that he becomes a nickel linebacker. But Booker has good vision and toughness versus running plays, so he should be fine on early downs.
He is likely to add as many as 20 pounds to his 212-pound frame. And while he may not be as fast as Shazier, he could have a similarly successful career.