Ohio's Mr. Football, Dante Booker, is officially a Buckeye. The 6'2 Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary linebacker is the latest member of the Dream '14 to fax in his National Letter of Intent to Urban Meyer, Luke Fickell and the rest of the OSU coaching staff this morning.
Booker, who committed to Ohio State in May, was a force for the Irish defense all season long. His 116 tackles were a key reason why powerhouse, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary won a Division III State Championship last season. Not the biggest linebacker in the class of 2014, only weighing somewhere in the neighborhood of 220 pounds, he shouldn't have any problems adding weight to a frame that could easily hold 25 more pounds. Working with Buckeyes weight room guru Mickey Mariotti over the next few years should certainly help, as Mickey has done wonders with many current Buckeyes in that department.
A tough, hard-nosed football player, Booker has great instincts and understanding of the linebacker position. A sure tackler, he rarely dances in the hole or tries to just go for the big hit, instead just going about his business and getting opposition to the turf. Blessed with great speed and footwork, Booker has been clocked in the 4.5s in the 40-yard dash and uses his speed to his advantage in both chasing down quarterbacks for sacks or in coverage on a running back out on a passing route. These skills will only help him to see the field earlier in his career at Ohio State, with linebacker being a position the Bucks are lacking depth.
Our Christopher Jason took a look at Booker Jr.'s tape, and had this to say about the linebacker:
Booker will need to bulk up to play linebacker at the next level, but his speed and blitzing ability jump off the screen. He diagnoses run plays very quickly, darting through holes and making a lot of plays in the backfield. To me, Booker looks like the prototypical, every-down weakside linebacker who is a menace in the run game and also has the athleticism to drop back into pass coverage. He times his blitzes very well and explodes through the line of scrimmage. He may not be able to play on defense his first season, but he should find his way onto a few special teams units.
Before he hits the field in the Scarlet and Gray, get a peak of what you can expect out of Booker with these highlights: