Akron Linebacker Dante Booker Commits to Ohio State
By Tony Gerdeman
It always felt like just a matter of time, and on Thursday linebacker Dante Booker finally took the plunge and verbally committed to Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.
Booker, out of Akron St. Vincent - St. Mary, is teammates with current OSU commitment Parris Campbell. He has teased his commitment to Ohio State in the past, but the teasing has apparently ended with his announcement, which he broke via Twitter.
Booker (6-4 210) is rated a four-star prospect by all four major recruiting services. He is ranked the #4 outside linebacker in the nation by 247Sports. Scout ranks him #9, ESPN likes him at #8, and Rivals ranks him their #10 inside linebacker.
He chose the Buckeyes over offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, Nebraska and Tennessee. He has already been selected to play in the 2014 Army All-American Bowl.
Booker finished with 72 tackles and six sacks last season, after tallying 157 tackles and 14 sacks as a sophomore. He was named Division III Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2012.
"I like him," said John McCallister, who runs the McCallister Scouting Report. "I think he is going to get bigger and stronger, but he's a work in progress. Now he can play, but I think he's going to end up putting his hand down on the outside and being a defensive end when it's all said and done.
"He's there, but he doesn't always make the play. But I think if you can put his hand down and play him on the outside, he's got a chance to be pretty good. He's one of the better players in Ohio. I don't see him as a linebacker though right now. But he's not really big yet. He's slender. This summer will tell the story on him."
Booker, who ran a 4.72 forty at a Nike Combine as a sophomore, is a tremendous athlete who is frequently asked to drop into pass coverage. McCallister also got a glimpse of him as a basketball player this past winter.
"He runs very well. He was listed at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, but will get much bigger. Good hips. I like his burst. I watched him drop the ball into the basket. Really like his attitude. Tough competitor. I really believe that he has the total package [as a football player]. Next fall, I need to see him light up a running back. Hopefully, he can put his hand down on the edge and also play in space. He's one of the top five defenders in the Ohio Class of 2014."
Rivals ranks Booker as the #2 overall prospect in the state of Ohio behind Marshon Lattimore out of Cleveland Glenville. With Booker's commitment, the Buckeyes now have four of the top five in-state prospects committed, per 247Sports. Lattimore, who is #1, is still expected to be a Buckeye. Currently, seven of 247Sports' Ohio top 10 have issued verbal commitments, and five of them are committed to the Buckeyes.
Ohio State now stands at nine commitments and is looking for 10-13 more. Per Scout's ratings, the Buckeyes now have three of the top nine outside linebackers committed: #2 Kyle Berger, #3 Sam Hubbard, and #9 Dante Booker.
Ohio State is still interested in a couple of other linebackers, however. The first is five-star middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan out of Georgia, who has had the Buckeyes leading for the better part of a year now. The other is Chase Winovich out of Pennsylvania, who also has offers from Michigan, Florida State, Oregon, Stanford, Arkansas and Harvard.
There is also Clifton Garrett out of Illinois, but that race appears headed for the SEC.
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