Booker breaks it down

If there was one player in the country that's starting to feel the heat of this year's recruiting process, it's Saint Bonaventure's <b>Lorenzo Booker</b>, the leading rusher in SoCal prep history. The 5-11, 175-pound Booker just returned from the East-West High School All-Star game in Texas and we had the opportunity to talk to Lorenzo about a variety of subjects.

"I'd say this is interview number 2,202," Lorenzo told last night. (laughs) "It just comes with the territory. I know that people want to know where I'm going. I'm human. I get tired of it, but it's a good thing too. It's exciting."

Booker had this to say about the All-Star game, a game where he scored twice and validated his status as one of the premier prep ballcarriers in all the land. "The All-Star game was awesome," he said. "It gave me an opportunity to show people that I can play with the best guys in the country. There was a lot of talk before the game like, 'Lorenzo's from a small school and he's playing against weak competition. The best were going to be at this game so I wanted to showcase what I can do and also meet a lot of the guys that are also the best in the country. It was a great opportunity and they treated all of us well. It was great to have an opportunity to go up against those guys because you know you'll see them again in college. And all the guys there were good guys."

And if he could pick a player off the West squad to start a team with, who would it be? "Well, I'm kind of biased, but I'd take my teammate, my boy James Bonelli!" Booker said with emphasis. "But if I had to pick one of the other California guys it would have to be Eric McNeal, the safety. There was only four guys from California there."

Lorenzo broke down what it was like to be involved with the whole process of being in an All-Star event. "To be honest with you, there wasn't that much hitting going on in practice. We didn't do a lot of scrimmaging. It was like they came up and grabbed you and that was it. I think guys were scared of getting hurt. One guy blew his knee out, a receiver from Texas on the first day of practice. And he hadn't committed anywhere. I was spooked, but I started thinking about it and to me it's like 'Final Destination'. If it's your time, it's your time. But I just went ahead and playing in that game was the greatest thing for me, because I got national recognition. It's one thing to see a guy and read about his stats and this and that, but it's another thing to actually be able to go in and play against the best in the country and play well. They see what you can do.

You wouldn't think Booker would feel the need to prove much after the career he has had as a Saint Bonaventure Seraph, but he spoke like a man on a mission. "The players are like, 'Is he that good, or is he any good at all?'," he said. "And after playing with them they can't talk any more. And another thing is that I was able to get a good feel for how good some of the other players were. I was hearing about guys like Gerald Riggs (Tennessee Verbal) and Maurice Clarett (Ohio State Verbal) and those are the different guys that I'm competing against for the best running back honors. I feel like I matched up well against those guys and they play against the best competition all the time and I really don't, so it helped that I showed well at the All-Star game."

Every recruitnik in the country is fascinated by Lorenzo's recruitment and Booker admits that time is getting tight. "Well, right now it's getting down to the nitty gritty," he said with a laugh. "It's time for me to start thinking about making a decision. It's tough. Right now me and Curtis (Richardson, Lorenzo's cousin) are looking at the weather, what it's like in Seattle, the temperatures and things like that. Because I know what it's like at USC. I'm here. (laughs) But I really am looking at Washington right now. They are the favorite."

Booker has a visit to Notre Dame this next weekend and will probably finish it off at USC the weekend of the 25th.

Lorenzo went a little more in-depth about his current feeling for his leader. "I love Coach Neuheisel. And I love Coach Alford. He was my favorite coach that was recruiting me and he was also my running backs coach, which made it better. And I could talk to him about everything. He was a coach I could talk to for an hour and it wouldn't have anything to do with football. We could talk about what I'm going through, my girlfriend, and it felt like I was just talking to one of my friends. And now he's gone, so it's definitely going to be a little different. But you can't make the decision just based on the coach."

Lorenzo's cousin found out about Tony's departure first, but gave Lorenzo some time before deliving the news. "Well it's kind of funny, because Curtis found out before the All-Star game and decided to wait until after the game to tell me," he said. "He probably thought it would affect me, but my feeling was that it was a good move for Coach Alford because he wants to be a Head Coach. It's a good move for him but I just wanted to get the chance to work with him and play for him but you never know how long coaches are going to be around for."

He closed the interview with some trepidation about the decision that is sure to come. "That's why you can't make the decision based on a coach, you have to do it based on the whole program and you go there because that's where you want to be, not just because a coach is there," he said. "And the coach for Florida State, I really like him too. You start creating relationships with these coaches and it's going to be really hard to say no to them when it comes time to make a decision. You can only pick one. I wish I could pick three!" (laughs)

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