Akron SVSM Sophomore arrives on radar

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Akron SVSM LB Dante Booker, Jr.

Heading into this past weekend’s NIKE Sparq Combine at Massillon High, Dante Booker, Jr., was one to watch. Then the St. Vincent-St. Mary sophomore put on a show. Who was watching…


Heading into this past weekend’s NIKE Sparq Combine at Massillon High, Dante Booker, Jr., was one to watch. Then the St. Vincent-St. Mary sophomore put on a show.

Booker checked in at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds before
recording a composite Sparq score of 92.88 – up from 82.41 a year ago.
His day included a laser-timed 4.72 in the 40-yard dash, a 4.60 shuttle
and a power ball toss of 42 feet.

“I improved from last year a little bit,” said Booker who, plays
outside linebacker for the Irish. “I’m not comfortable with my weight, I
need to improve on that. I’m trying to get a little bigger, possibly
220 or 225.”

His dad, Dante Booker,
Sr. played on the defensive line in college professionally in the NFL,
Canadian Football League and the American Indoor Football Association at
6-3 and 285 pounds.

“My dad played college football at Auburn and he went on to play a
little bit with the Colts,” Booker said. “He just rubs off on me a
little bit.”

Booker played some varsity his freshman year at SVSM before he
became a full-time starter in his sophomore campaign. According to his
own profile page on ScoutingOhio.com, Booker has amassed a 179 tackles
and 14 sacks along with four forced fumbles – three of which he
recovered – eight passes defended and 17 hurries in his career thus far.

“I’m versatile, athletic, fast and I can be strong when I need to,” Booker said. “But I like to use my speed more often.”

And more than likely, Booker will be putting those same traits to use on the offensive side of the ball as well going forward.

“I’ve been playing defense only for the past two years but I
think I’m also going to play on offense the next two years at tight
end,” Booker said. “I think they need me out there.”

More football is a good thing for Booker.

“I love everything about it,” Booker said. “My dad was successful…it’s just in my blood, it’s in my genes.”

And just like his dad, Booker is a multi-sport talent. At Akron
Ellet High School, Booker’s dad played football as a freshman but gave
up the sport to play basketball and became a three-time All-City
selection.

“I’m running track right now and I played baseball but I gave up
basketball,” Booker said. “This will be my first year of high school
track and I really haven’t decided on my events yet. I can do a little
bit of everything and I can also do the shot put.”

But when this school year comes to an end, Booker plans on hitting the camp circuit aggressively in the summer.

“I plan on hitting the camps and combines pretty hard, as hard as
I can, and just improve on everything,” Booker said. “I’ll go to
Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State.”

He knows a little bit about the Buckeyes.

“I know that they got Doran (Grant) up there so maybe I can join
him,” said Booker, who’s never attended a game in Ohio Stadium. “They
have nice facilities. I’ve been up there for their camp last year and
it’s pretty nice.”

As of right now, Booker is open to any school that comes calling,
including those in the SEC. Auburn and LSU have recently been listed as
two of his favorites.

“I’m open to anyone and any possibilities,” Booker said. “I just
dream about going to a big-time college. Just having them interested in
me, I’ll be happy with any of that.”

And when school starts up again in the fall, Booker wants to help his team go deeper into the playoffs.

“We’ve been in the playoffs the past few years and we always end
up losing so we need to advance in that,” Booker said. “And we got to
beat Mooney. That’s our main goal. We got to.”

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