The Wolverine coaching staff has been hard at work this evaluation period checking out future prospects all around the country. One of those under the radar prospects that they have kept sights on is Baltimore (Md.) Gilman sophomore tight end/defensive end Thomas Booker. Despite the talented youngster having no offers, the Maize and Blue liked what they saw and became his first offer in his recruitment.
“I reached out to Coach (Biff) Poggi, the assistant head coach at Michigan, on Thursday and he asked me to speak to (Head) Coach (Jim) Harbaugh the next day,” Booker told The Michigan Insider. “I thought it would be just a conversation and introduction to Coach Harbaugh and I was grateful to have the opportunity to get to know a coach with his outstanding reputation. Coach Harbaugh turned out to have a little bit more on his mind. When I first heard him offer me the scholarship, I was humbled by the fact that a program with such a winning athletic tradition and national academic standing was the first offer for me in my sophomore year. It’s good to know that a school with such high academic and athletic standards, like Michigan, had confidence in my abilities as a student and an athlete. Michigan being my first offer is huge, and I want to thank the coaches for their interest in me as a football player and as a person.”
With his first offer coming from the Wolverines, his interest has vaulted up and is definitely a destination on his visit agenda.
“I’m very interested in Michigan,” said Booker. “It’s a world-class university and it has a storied football program. The coaching staff is top notch and competes with anyone in the country. I am early in the college selection process and I’ve got a lot to learn about the University. I’m just grateful to know that Michigan is interested in having me be a part of their student body and football program.
“My family and I will be visiting colleges over the next year to year-and-a-half as part of the college selection process. The University of Michigan has been on our list from the beginning.”
While Michigan has been a school of interest for Booker for quite some time, the addition of Coach Poggi gives him and his family a little more sense of comfort.
“Michigan has been on my list prior to Coach Poggi being there,” said Booker. “Coach Poggi and my father, Tom Booker, played football at Gilman together and were in the same class, so it’s great and helpful to know that someone who I’ve played for and who has known my family for such a long time is now a coach at the Division 1 level.”
At 6-4, 260-pounds, schools have began to take more notice of Booker’s versatile skill-set and his willingness to help the team in anyway.
“I’m a football player first and foremost,” said Booker. “I want to be able to contribute to my team and win, no matter what the position.”
“Last year, I played H-Back, so I was mostly running routes out of the slot and blocking out of the backfield. As a receiver, I’m sure-handed, rarely ever get tackled by a single defender, and my speciality is making difficult catches in traffic. If you get the ball in my vicinity, I’m coming down with it. When we ran the ball, I was the lead blocker and point of attack. I blocked defensive ends, linebackers, defensive tackles, corners, and safeties. I had to be violent enough to punish defensive linemen or linebackers, enough to be effective against defensive backs and smart enough to read make good choices quickly.”
“On defense, I was the rush side defensive end and even though I played less than 70 plays on defense the entire season (only played defense in 4 out of 11 games), I was third on the team in sacks and tackles for loses, 1 sack less than our awesome starting defensive tackle, Taron Vincent. I’m a sure tackler with a high motor who gets to the quarterback and makes plays. That being said, I would describe my game as being quick, aggressive, punishing and intelligent. If something isn’t working, I make adjustments.”