Lorenzo Booker, RB, Florida State Seminoles

by Brian Dean on March 15, 2007 @ 03:55:09 PDT

 


Lorenzo Booker was touted as the top prep running back in the country coming out of St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura, Calif. He rushed for 8,502 yards and 137 touchdowns in, both state records. Booker won California Player of the Year as a junior in 2001 with 3,103 yards and 49 scores. The Florida State Seminoles beat out the University of Southern California and Notre Dame, among others, in a recruiting battle for this electric talent following a brilliant high school career.

Booker saw limited action as a redshirt freshman in 2003 for the Seminoles but displayed his raw skills by averaging 5.4 yards per carry and adding 19 receptions. The dynamic runner averaged 5.1 yards per carry as a sophomore behind Leon Washington, currently of the New York Jets. Booker started two games that year while Washington was out with a shoulder injury. He finished 2004 with a career-high 887 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

The 2005 season was supposed to be Booker's breakout campaign, it but ended in disappointment. He couldn't beat out Washington, and the two backs shared the load. Behind a struggling line, Booker's carries dropped by 50, while his average dropped by a half-yard per touch. His junior season did, however, produce career highs in receptions with 39 and all-purpose touchdowns with six.

The mysterious talent that is Booker was set up for success as a senior. Washington left for the NFL and Booker was alone atop the 2006 Seminoles depth chart. Again, Booker and the Florida State offense struggled. Booker started 11 games in 2006, but this time it was sophomore Antone Smith who stole carries from him. For the third straight year Booker's average per carry fell.

Table: Lorenzo Booker - Career Statistics (2003-06)

Year
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Rec.
Rec. Yds
Rec. TD
2003
62
334
5.4
3
19
86
0
2004
173
887
5.1
4
24
160
0
2005
119
552
4.6
4
38
329
2
2006
143
616
4.3
4
33
420
0
Totals
497
2,389
4.8
15
114
995
2

Positives

Booker's calling card has always been his athleticism. He's a playmaker that can make you miss with short-area quickness or take it the distance from anywhere on the field with top speed.

Booker succeeded as a receiver out of the backfield. His natural abilities allowed for comparisons to New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush, and he was used in a similar fashion by Florida State coaches. He didn't line up in the slot or run a lot of routes, but his hands were solid.

Booker didn't compete much on special teams, but potential as a returner is a plus. Washington's success as a rookie in the NFL could be a sign that a poor Seminole offense, particularly line play, could have been a factor in holding Booker back.

Negatives

Brooker is just not built like a feature back at 5-foot-10, 191 pounds. In high school Booker could do whatever he wanted field, but lack of production in a major collegiate conference has NFL teams worried.

Booker's average decreased every year after a good freshman season. Overall, he was an underachiever who could never win the fulltime job at tailback.

Although not weak, Booker could stand to add functional strength and size to help move the pile. Right now he's nothing more than a change-of-pace back at the next level. He doesn't show the instincts or leg drive to run between the tackles. Despite how elusive Booker is in the open field, he doesn't break a lot of tackles, which is a concern as he will seldom go untouched in the NFL.

Draft Placement

Booker is still a bit of a mystery. Everybody likes his dynamic athletic ability, but production and size are concerns. Despite the Florida State pedigree, he doesn't play like fellow diminutive running back alum Warrick Dunn.

Booker is a risky pick right now that might get taken too highly based upon quickness and a 4.42 40-yard dash. At the same time, he might get taken too low based upon production in college. In the end, Booker should settle in with similarly ranked third-down back Darius Walker of Notre Dame in Round 3 or 4.

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About Brian Dean

Brian "Birdman" Dean has been a contributor at KFFL since 2005. This musician and lifelong athlete is known at KFFL for his foresight and dead-on predictions, as witnessed by his back-to-back NFL mock draft title.

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