In what seems like an eternity, Maryland football and recruiting Southwest Ohio has not mixed much over the past several years.
That looks to be changing under new head coach Mike Locksley who picked up a player First Star Football Report feels went under recruited.
Anthony “Tank” Booker, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound lineman out of Cincinnati (Ohio) Winton Woods held several offers to consider before giving Maryland his commitment, but many of the top Power Five programs lacked interest in a prospect we feel is just scratching the surface of his ability.
By picking the Terrapins, Booker could be the player that opens the door for other Southwest Ohio prospects to look at the Big Ten program.
Why are we so high on Booker?
After missing most of his junior season with an injury, Booker came back to play a major role in helping Winton Woods reach the Ohio Division II state semifinals.
Terrapin fans should also keep an eye out for Booker’s younger brother, Andrew “Bam” Booker, a 2021 prospect who also holds an offer from the Terrapins.
POSITION: When watching Booker play live, you see a player with the skill set to play almost all gap techniques. With current size, Booker could be looked to add more bulk and strength and play nose. However, his abilities to be a dual-threat player from the defensive tackle position has us feeling that is where he ends up at the college level. While there are several clips from his highlights of his highlights from the edge, Booker mostly inside when he battled Notre Dame pledge Zeke Correll. (see film below)
AGILITY/ATHLETICISM: This is where film doesn’t do Booker justice as we were surprised by his overall athletic ability. Is there room for improvement? Yes, but we can say that about almost any prospect. Booker is not just a straight-line player. He has a spring to his step with good flexibility and explosion from his hips. Moving laterally, Booker can cause offensive linemen problems. One area of needed improvement needs to be Booker firing off the ball. When Booker has the mindset, he’s quick and forceful. However, many times he reacts more to the player in front of him and gets high. This is common in lots of high school prospects and coachable.
WORK NEEDED: All the tools are there for Booker to have an impact at the college level. At this time, he’s only scratched the surface of how good he can become. We feel Booker is one of the biggest undervalued prospects we watched this past season. Increased strength, technique, coming off the ball lower and more forceful along with hand work will be key for Booker to reach our lofty expectations.
FINAL THOUGHTS: If you can’t tell by now, we really like what the future could hold for Booker. We joked with him following a game this fall he could also be an outstanding offensive lineman at the college level. Like most defensive linemen, he laughed and said no. When Booker turns on the motor he can dominate. He’ll need to play with a high motor every play at the next level. While we don’t see the first step of a Jerel Worthy, we feel Booker has some of the same traits with a bigger frame than the former Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne, Michigan State and NFL product.
Below is film of Booker in the playoffs against Anderson (Ohio) High School. Some clips are against Notre Dame signee, Zeke Correll #75.