#27, Lorenzo Booker, RB
(5103, 193, 4.38-4.55) Florida State
Notes: Born 6/14/84, in Oxnard, California. Attended St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura, California. In his senior year, he ran for 2,878 yards and 50 touchdowns, and also had 16 receptions for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was widely regarded as the nation's top running back prospect and was named a Parade All-American and to the PrepStar Dream Team. He also earned USA Today All-USA first-team honors and was ranked by Rivals.com as the number 3 overall prospect in the country and a five star recruit. In his junior year, Booker had an equally-impressive 3,103 yards and 49 touchdowns, and for his three-year career had 8,502 rushing yards and 137 touchdowns, both state records. During this time, he led his team a 42-0 record. After an initial verbal commitment to Notre Dame,Booker chose Florida State over Notre Dame and USC in a press conference televised nationally on ESPN. Following his high school career, Booker played in the 2002 U.S. Army All-American Bowl he was also awarded the Gatorade High School Heisman, honoring the top high school athlete in the nation.
College: Redshirted in 2002. Saw action in 10 games in 2003; rushing 62 times for 334 yards (5.4 avg.) and 3 touchdowns and caught 19 passes for 86 yards. Missed three games with a sprained knee and a sprained ankle. Started 2-of-12 games in 2004, splitting time with Leon Washington (Seahawks); rushed 173-887-4 (5.1 avg) and caught 24-160. Shared time again with Washington in 2005, starting 3-of-13 games; rushed 119-552-4 (4.6 avg.) and caught 38-329-2. Started 12-of-13 games as a senior (2006); rushed 143-616-4 (4.3 avg.) and caught 33-420. Majored in social science.
Pre-Draft: Measured 5103 (5'-10 3/8"), 191 pounds coming out of college; posted a 1.46 10-yard dash, 2.58 20-yard dash, 4.46 40-yard dash, 35 ½-inch vertical jump, 10'-3" broad jump, 3.98 short shuttle, 7.04 three-cone drill time and did 26 reps at 225 pounds.
Pro: Originally drafted in the third round (71st overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. He signed a four-year contract with the Dolphins on May 24, 2007. He saw action in 7 games (starting one) as a rookie and rushed 28-125 (4.5 avg.) and caught 28-237 (8.5 avg.).
Booker was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles on April 26, 2008 for a fourth-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. In 10 games (one start) he rushed for 53 yards on 20 carries and caught 6 passes for 11 yards in 2008. He was waived by the Eagles on September 5, 2009 during final cuts.
He signed with the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League on August 17, 2010. He was named the UFL Offensive Player of the Week for week 7 during the 2010 season after rushing for 147 yards and a touchdown. Booker finished the season with by rushing 60-321-1 (5.4 avg.) and caught 17-210-1 (12.4 avg.) in 6 games.
He boycotted the Colonials' November 20, 27-14 win over the Las Vegas Locomotives to protest the league's $150,000 transfer fee. The fee was payable to a UFL team if one of its players is signed by an NFL team. Booker and other players felt they were led to believe the fee would be waived once the season is over, not until February 1, 2011, since the previous season the fee was waived and 43 UFL players eventually were signed by NFL teams. On November 22, Booker was suspended by the UFL for the boycott.
With the UFL transfer fee finally reduced to $25,000, he was signed by the Vikings on December 6, 2010.
Positives: Natural athlete with very good speed, quickness and acceleration. Can turn the corner and get upfield. Good run vision. Makes tacklers miss. Can create in the open field. Excellent cutting ability. Very good balance and body control. Very strong for his size. Runs hard and shows some toughness. Reliable pass receiver with soft hands. Capable cut blocker on the blitz pickup. Can return punts and kickoffs and will cover kicks.
Negatives: Very average natural size for a running back. Tends to bounce everything outside and does not show much lower-body tackle-breaking strength or power. Durability is a concern. Marginal blocker.
Summary: Offers a nice complement in terms of style to the hard-charging duo of Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart and is a reliable pass catcher out of the backfield who can also contribute on special teams.