Booker chooses Florida State

Feb. 6, 2002 at 8:06 PM
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OXNARD, Calif., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Lorenzo Booker, the national Player of the Year last season at St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura County, announced Wednesday he will be playing his college football for the Florida State Seminoles.

The 170-pound running back has 4.3 speed and could make an immediate impact for Florida State, which is coming off an 8-4 season -- sub-par by its lofty standards.

Booker rushed for 3,103 yards and scored 49 touchdowns last season. He never lost a game in high school, leading St. Bonaventure to a 42-0 record and three state championships.

Booker had narrowed his choices to Florida State, Southern California, Notre Dame and Washington.

Wednesday's announcement came as somewhat of a surprise as Notre Dame, which is trying to revive its program under first-year coach Tyrone Willingham, had been rumored to be the favorites.

"Florida State was my childhood favorite. I still remember when they won the Sugar Bowl," said Booker, referring to the Seminoles' 46-29 win over West Virginia in the 2000 national championship game.

Wednesday was the first day that high school players could sign letters of intent with colleges, a decision that legally binds a player to a school. The signing period concludes in April.

Quarterback Ben Olson of Thousand Oaks, Calif., listed as the top prospect by Prep Football Report, will play at Brigham Young.

Another prized running back, Maurice Clarett, the USA Today High School Offensive Player of the Year, decided on Ohio State.

Second-year coach Al Groh enjoyed a strong recruiting season at Virginia. Three Parade All-Americans made oral commitments to the Cavaliers on Monday, including linebacker Ahmad Brooks, the 2001 USA Today Defensive Player of the Year.

Defensive lineman Kai Parham and tailback Michael Johnson also plan to attend Virginia.

Two sons of former NFL players were among this year's recruiting class. Gerald Riggs Jr., the son of the former Atlanta Falcons' running back, signed with Tennessee, while quarterback David Lofton committed to Stanford, the alma mater of his father, James.

Marcus Vick, a highly regarded quarterback, will be following in his brother Michael's football steps at Virginia Tech. Michael Vick led the Hokies to the national championship game two years ago and was the top pick in the 2000 NFL draft.

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