Looking ahead to the 2023 class, Naples (Fla.) Palmetto Ridge running back Jaden Booker is the only player at his position to hold an offer from Michigan, so the Wolverines are one of several schools that think quite highly of the strong runner's talent.
Last year, Booker's team stumbled to winless record through four games, then Booker entered the starting lineup and the complexion of the team's season shifted. From that point on, the Bears went on a 4-2 run in that saw Booker eclipse the 1,000 yard rushing mark as a freshman.
“I'm a downhill runner,” Booker told Wolverine Digest. “I'm going to run through you. I don't do too much juking and stuff like that.”
As a result of that impressive varsity debut, Booker landed offers from Michigan, Pittsburgh, Nebraska, Georgia Tech, Liberty and Toledo, so Booker is already a national recruit. The Wolverines offered Booker back in 2019, and it's a moment that has stuck with the standout tailback.
“I was so hype,” Booker said. “My friend, Kamonte Grimes, he gave me a big hug and everything. We started going crazy after lunch. It was a great feeling.”
Grimes is also a top flight prospect that the Wolverines would like to add to their 2021 class. At the moment, Grimes is rated as a three-star athlete by Rivals.com and also holders an offer from U-M, so the school is clearly a hotbed for football talent.
Booker mentioned that he hasn't specifically discussed Michigan with his older teammate yet but that he will do so soon. Otherwise, Booker has taken to the internet to learn more about the schools recruiting him the hardest, which is an unfortunate side effect to the NCAA's extended dead period.
“I still look up stuff on YouTube and Google to look at schools, but it's been real hard.,” Booker said.
Once visits are back on the table, Booker said that he is going to meet with his head coach, Chris Toukonen, before deciding which schools he would like to visit. But even without visiting Ann Arbor, Booker has heard that Michigan winters are pretty cold, which would be one difference from his time in Florida.
When looking ahead, Booker is committed to using his freshman season as a stepping stone to what could be an even more productive sophomore campaign. At the moment, Booker's target goals are at least 2,000 rushing yards and over 200 receiving yards as he works to help his team reach the postseason in 2020.
And that season is tentatively still set to proceed, though official practices for high school teams have been delayed until Aug. 24, so that is one adjustment that Booker and Grimes will have to work around.
Do you think Michigan can lure either Grimes or Booker up north? How should the Wolverines approach the recruitment of what looks to be one of the top 2023 running backs in the nation? Let us know!