“I asked him in the team meeting, ‘How many stars were you?’ He said, 'Zero. “He’s a great motivator too and a great person overall. The question of "where" then became "why.". "I'm going to keep looking at it," Day said at the time.

I think the only time we took him off the field was on kickoff and on punt because we needed him at corner and we needed him at receiver because we didn’t have a ton of guys my first year there.”. Alford wasn’t the only one. One point decided both the 2017 and 2018 games. Day took time to get to know him better, a certain sign of progress. The opportunities they have given me are amazing as well. “‘That’s a shame because you’ve really gotten better,” Alford told him. “Justin is one of the greatest players I’ve ever played with, had the pleasure of speaking with him. Despite playing with scholarship athletes and some of the top recruits in the country, Booker made plays in practice that got the coaches' attention. Fields was granted the hardship waiver on Feb. 8, 2018 — he was already enrolled at Ohio State and taking part in winter conditioning drills — but refuted any notion that he didn't feel comfortable at Georgia: "I would like to thank the NCAA for its approval of the waiver allowing me to be eligible to play football this fall," Fields said in a statement. “It was very clear that he was the best player on our team,” Grega said. After spending his freshman year as a member of the Dayton football team, Booker decided to transfer to Ohio State.

“I was just so proud of him,” Grega said. The opportunities that they have given me are amazing as well. The receiver didn’t see the field once again in 2019 and didn’t even dress for the Buckeyes until late in the season.

That earned the true sophomore a third-place finish in the 2019 Heisman voting, behind Burrow and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts.

He made my highlight tape from club and it was really just him. But he enjoyed what he was doing in helping to make the Big Ten champions better and continued to work hard. In a seven-on-seven drill prior to this season, Booker beat his man and was open on a play. Because when you get to college, it’s a whole other animal.

However, that documentation did provide support for the issuance of a waiver under the NCAA’s rules. I've met with him on some plays already and I can already tell he's a great offensive-minded coach. I’m just grateful and I can’t say that enough.”. He watched him each day in practice and in games and understood Booker belonged at a higher level. He was also probably the hardest worker and most humble kid we had on the team.”. 2 player in the class of 2018 — behind only Trevor Lawrence — committed to the Bulldogs in the first place. You have to get used to the guys and build relationships with them so they trust you."

So Grega reached out to Ohio State’s assistant director of personnel Justin Perez. Booker started his collegiate football career in Ohio, but not as a Buckeye. He was credited with one solo tackle, but that, plus his effort when he was on the field, was enough, I was just so proud of him,” Grega said. At Ohio State’s annual coaches clinic in the week leading up to the 2019 spring game, Grega approached new head coach Ryan Day, initially to discuss the club team’s quarterback -- the Buckeyes had lost Matthew Baldwin and Tate Martell to transfers that offseason -- but made sure to tell him about Booker.

That said, Fields said he had no expectations of being given the starting spot, which was open after the departure of Dwayne Haskins to the NFL. ", MORE: Lawrence, Fields lead SN's top 25 QBs of 2020, Unlike many who enter the NCAA's transfer portal, Fields left no doubt to where he was transferring. Because when you get to college, it’s a whole other animal.

He also added 137 rushes for 484 yards (3.5 yards per attempt) and 10 scores. In my silence, people began to speculate, and the story took on a life of its own. “I kind of missed the game a little bit, not going to lie, playing flag football,” Booker said. “It’s a top program, they get all the best recruits, all the best talent. 18 Penn State 38-25, Esports: Premier Overwatch team prepares for second TESPA preseason split tournament, University names first executive vice president for research, Football: No. I was just patiently waiting for my turn, but when he told me that, my mindset kind of changed.”. He redshirted his first year on campus and was the Flyers’ scout team player of the year in 2017. t was very clear from my first practice that Chris was going to be our best player,” Grega told Bucknuts. Plus, explore all of your favorite teams' player rosters on FOXSports.com today! He was playing the sport he loved again, and loved playing it. You’re doing it six days a week, it takes up a lot of your time and the rest of your time you’re really budgeting around trying to do homework, trying to hang out with your friends, trying to do all that other stuff.

Since 2018, Grega said that Booker has made strides in his strength since walking on to the varsity squad. Booker was named a first-team All-American by the National Club Football Association, Grega wasn’t going to give up his hope of getting Booker to the varsity team. “So I thought why not try it out?

pic.twitter.com/b11Te2Tk1r. The official 2018 Football Roster for the Iowa State University Cyclones. My sister is a softball player at UGA. It's performances like that that has Ohio State feeling good about its College Football Playoff hopes, with the Buckeyes eyeing the championship after a … Booker joined Ohio State’s club football team for the 2018 season. Things didn't work out for the Georgia native at his home-state school, however, prompting him to head north for a better chance at playing time. When I saw him make the tackle, I was as excited as I was for any of the touchdown plays that Ohio State had. I think he can really benefit your team,’ just the way he is now.”. caught 14 passes for 371 yards and seven touchdowns, helping lead the Buckeyes to the team’s first-ever division title.

", Justin Fields on his decision to come to Ohio State. Iowa State Athletics. He wasn’t going to come off the field. “You could just tell by looking at him that he was gonna be the best player. His lone incompletion was a drop in the end zone by Chris Olave. In the first game, technically an exhibition, against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Booker scored all three touchdowns -- a reception, a pick-six and a kickoff return for a score -- in a 24-4 win. And it certainly didn’t reflect poorly on Justin or any member of his family. Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day praised Booker for his hard work and determination to carve himself a role on the team as a walk-on. I made some life-long friends on the club team and I won’t forget my experiences there and it really helped me fall in love with the game again.”. “Playing club was so much fun,” he said. Fields' lawyer, Tom Mars, backed up Fields' claim in a statement issued to ESPN. As Booker saw that opportunity become a reality Saturday, he has his sights set on the Penn State kick return team, which he said is a team that has a dynamic skill set in the return game. Still, Fields would have to usurp true sophomore Jake Fromm for the starting job, a season after the latter led Georgia to a berth in the 2017 College Football Playoff national title game.

But he was doing it with names like, It’s crazy,” Booker said. The vast majority of the Scarlet and Gray roster is on scholarship, the equipment is the best of the best and plane trips to games is the norm.

“It’s been a crazy journey,” Booker, a receiver for Ohio State, said on Wednesday.

Football wasn’t even on Booker’s radar other than playing recreationally. Ohio State's season ended with a Fiesta Bowl semifinal loss to Clemson; Fields threw an interception on the Buckeyes' final offensive play of the season, allowing the Tigers to kneel and claim a 29-23 win. Despite playing football since he was a kid, the love for the game just wasn’t there any longer. Curiously, Fields' transfer occurred one year after Joe Burrow transferred from Ohio State to LSU after he failed to earn the starting position in Columbus. He was the best player. Putting on about 10 pounds in the regular season last year, working up to that, and then another 10 in the offseason this year has really helped me get my confidence back, helped me play better. And while he had the experience at Dayton, playing football at Ohio State was something rather different.

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