Earlier this year we had the world’s introduction to Bryce Harper, who either can become the next Babe Ruth or the next Matt Bush.  Since this over hyping of the high school athlete is not a new phenomenon, I decided to take it to the next level and once a week discuss overhyped high school athletes.  My first subject is Lorenzo Booker.  Unless you went to Florida State or were either a Miami Dolphins or Philadelphia Eagles fan you might not have ever heard of him.

However, in 2002 he was considered the best running back prospect in a half a century.  People were comparing him to Marshall Faulk and Barry Sanders.  In high school he tallied 8502 rushing yards and 137 touchdowns over the course of 3 seasons.  In his junior year he ran for 3103 yards and 49 touchdowns.  His senior year was an equally impressive 2878 yards and 50 touchdowns.  He won every high school award you could in 2002, and his national letter of intent signing day was covered by ESPN.

He chose Florida State over Notre Dame and Southern California.  He was red-shirted his freshman year, then was the 3rd string in his first season.  He took over the starting duties in his sophomore season but only rushed for 887 yards and 4 touchdowns.  His junior year was even worse, as he rushed for a paltry 552 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Following his junior year he decided to turn pro.

Based solely on potential, the Dolphins, who were struggling for a starting running back, took a chance on him in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft.  He was signed to a 4 year deal and played sparingly in his one season with Miami. During the next draft, he was traded to the Eagles for a fourth round pick.  There he appeared in 7 games and amassed 125 yards rushing  and 28 receptions for 228 yards receiving.  Unfortunately, just after training camp he was one of the last casualties and was waived before the 2009 season started.

Since then he has been linked to a few deals, but none have come to fruition.  He was supposed to sign with the Florida Tuskers of the UFL, then at the end of October, he had a work out with the Texans.  He is currently a free agent.  My best guess is that he will sign with a UFL team next season, either that or head off to the CFL.

As far as his hobby status goes, since he was in the 2007 draft, there are plenty of rookie card auto / patches available.  You can find his autograph for under a dollar on eBay and auto / patch combos run about $3 (including the Exquisite card below).  I think the card is a must have if you are into guys that never fulfilled their hype like I am.  I find these stories so fascinating.  To see how players can go from absolute can’t miss Hall of Famers to getting cut from practice squads is just a wild ride.  Lorenzo can still play in the NFL, but he might have to prove himself in the UFL to get back there one more time.

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5 responses »

  1. Corky says:

    I can not understand why someone would choose to go pro after a dismal Junior season, I am going to guess he had someone in his ear whispering “Money…money…money”

  2. Jeff says:

    He is widely known on YouTube, “L line, B line”.

  3. eskillian says:

    Definitely interesting and a story I wasn’t familiar with. I figure he declared for the draft because he knew things weren’t going good and he needed to sign a contract while his name still carried some weight. I’m surprised he went in the third round.

  4. Jason says:

    I’ll always remember Booker’s signing day as being one of the first high school athlete in which I remember ESPN covering. I was sitting in a restaurant when they cut to this high school gym to show which school he picked.

    This (over) hype in high school recruiting only grew from there as you’ll now see countless websites devoted to it. Before 2002, I don’t remember any high school FB’s signing day being on TV. Now you have J. Clausen showing up at the college FB HOF in a limo to annouce where he’ll attend. Blah.

  5. mike says:

    Lorenzo Booker did go to Florida State for his senior season, he was MVP of the Emerald Bowl after running all over UCLA. Booker worked tirelessly at becoming a better running back, football player, and person but unfortunately he could never put on the size necessary in his legs to be a NFL running back. Booker was a great athlete at St. Bonaventure and obviously dominated his opponents but it is not his fault he was hyped so much.

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