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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Thursday, July 24, 2008

By Sammy Batten

THUMBNAILS:  2006  •  2007  •  2008  •  2009

For Booth, there's no place like home

By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.

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Jimmy Booth has been attending East Carolina games as a fan for some time now. But in the fall of 2009 Booth will trade in his ticket and seat for a standing-room only zone at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

The defensive lineman has decided to become one of the players he’s watched wearing the purple and gold over the years by making a verbal commitment to play for the Pirates after graduating from Greenville’s Rose High School in the spring of ’09.

Booth made the pledge on July 2 after a recruiting tour in which he attended one-day camps at North Carolina State, Duke, East Carolina and Duke in June. The Pirates extended a scholarship offer just hours after watching the 6-foot-3, 280-pounder perform in camp.

“I’ve been wanting to go to East Carolina for a while,’’ Booth said. “I’ve always lived in Greenville and the school isn’t even 10 minutes from my house.

“But everyone around me was telling me I needed to visit other colleges. So I went to N.C. State and Duke for one-day camps. I worked out for them and checked out their schools.

“After I got home I talked to my parents and told them East Carolina was where I really wanted to go.’’

N.C. A&T had also offered, and Duke and N.C. State both sent letters expressing their continued interest in the days after the commitment, Booth said.

The decision guaranteed the extension of a football career that began for Booth as a 7-year-old when his father suggested he give the game a try.

“I was kind of a chubby kid growing up,’’ Booth said. “My parents wanted me to do it to try to get my weight down. So it was a way for me to exercise at first. But it was something I grew to love.’’

Booth advanced through the ranks of Pop Warner and middle school football before arriving at Rose. As a ninth grader, he played for the junior varsity and earned a late-season promotion to the varsity squad.

After a one-game stint with the varsity to start his sophomore year, Booth returned to the junior varsity to play out the regular season. He was then promoted again to the varsity for the final few games.

Booth earned a starting job at defensive tackle for the varsity last season and led the Rampants with nine quarterback sacks.

“I’m sort of an interior run stopper,’’ Booth said. “I’m one of those guys who can clog up the middle. I can pass rush, too, every once in a while, but I’m mainly a clog up the hole guy.’’

Booth believes the Pirates plan to play him at defensive tackle, too.

“It depends on how my body and my speed changes, but I’d probably say I’m going to play inside,’’ he said.

Although he won’t be officially part of the ECU family until signing a national letter-of-intent in February, Booth plans to watch as many Pirate games as possible in person this year.

“Lately, I’ve become a big C.J. Wilson fan,’’ Booth said of ECU’s junior defensive end. “I like watching him even though he’s more of an outside guy. I remember seeing him after one game. He’s so huge! But I enjoy watching him.

“I’m looking forward to seeing them win a lot of games this year. That was a big part of my decision. When you’re going somewhere for four years, you want to go where there’s a possibility of winning. It wouldn’t be fun losing all the time. They’re a proven winner, and the last two years they’ve gone to bowl games.’’

Booth is the 10th player to join ECU’s recruiting class, and he’s the second defensive tackle prospect along with Michael Brooks from Yanceyville, NC.

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07/24/2008 01:33:50 AM


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