The No. 10 player on this list has dealt with injuries throughout his career, and now with this being his last go-round, it wouldn’t be unusual to see him have the best season of his career.
No. 10 — Dante Booker, rSr Linebacker
Dante Booker arrived at Ohio State with 5-star accolades and 6-star expectations.
As the backup behind Joshua Perry for two seasons, he learned from one of the best. His first opportunity to start came in 2016, but he was lost in the first game of the season. He then won a job last season as well, but again dealt with injuries.
Booker missed the spring following shoulder surgery, but should be good to go any minute now.
This is Booker’s fifth-and-final season at Ohio State, so he is planning to have his best season as a Buckeye.
This is also a contract year for Booker, so the more he can show, the better for everybody.
What He Does Well
Dante Booker has always had potential as a pass rusher because of his size (6-3 235) and speed. He had a fantastic stretch of games to start Big Ten play last season.
Booker had two tackles for loss in consecutive games against Maryland and Rutgers. He followed those two games up with seven tackles against Nebraska, then five more tackles and a TFL in the comeback win over Penn State. Booker was then lost for the season soon after due to injury.
When healthy, his coaches love his versatility, which allows them to ask him to do different things. He was just starting to hit his stride last year when injuries struck again.
Dante Booker in 2018
Booker was out this spring, so he was essentially the forgotten man at linebacker. The position has been a popular topic of conversation this offseason due to the many unknowns, but Booker could very well be the solution to many of the questions.
Linebackers coach Bill Davis isn’t sure which outside spot Booker will play. His ability to play either side will help Davis and Greg Schiano to figure out their best three linebackers.
This is Booker’s fifth season at Ohio State, so he has seen everything and pretty much been asked to do everything. Perhaps more than any other linebacker on the roster, the coaches know what he does best. Because of that, he could very well hit the 2018 season running, and Dante Booker at full speed could be something to see.
What They Are Saying
“Dante will be back from his injury sometime late in the summer and we’re excited about him coming back and being a big part of our defense. He will be an outside ‘backer. He’ll come in and we’ll get through his getting back in off of his injuries. He’s missing a lot of reps and he’ll come in and he’ll scrap it out for an outside ‘backer spot. Could be the Sam, could be the Will.
“There was a report a little while ago that was a false report, but right now, Dante Booker is 100 percent in our plans. He had some bad shoulders and he got them fixed and it’s a great thing, it’s a positive. He’s got some time in the system, so the reps, although they hurt, he’ll be fine when we’re ready to go and we’re excited about Dante.” — Bill Davis