Tyler Booker has a wide selection of college football programs to join next year, with a reported 30 scholarship offers in for the Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy lineman. The next step in narrowing the list will be aided by some of the official visits the rising-senior recruit plans to take in June.
"With the crazy world of COVID, I have to take advantage of everything while it's opened up and while I can," he told SI All-American. "You never know if the next month, things can change and shut back down. The ones that I set are Georgia and Florida right now, those are the only ones that are set. Florida is June 4-6, Georgia is the 18-20.
"I saw how hard the decision was for my teammates that didn't get to go visit colleges, and ultimately I want to be done with the recruiting process before my senior season. The only month where visits will be available is June so I want to knock them all out then."
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The 6'4" Booker, listed over 300 pounds as an offensive line projection at tackle or guard depending on the program, has offers from a who's who list of programs. It includes Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame, Penn State, Texas and others in addition to the SEC East programs already locked in for official visits.
Securing the remaining three trips, each in the month of June, is his plan before announcing his college destination prior to the 2021 season kicking off.
"My top five is coming out next week, actually," he said with a laugh.
The list will likely give away the remaining visit destinations, revealing the programs set to compete with Florida and Georgia among the Connecticut native's favorites.
The Gator pitch starts at the top.
"It comes from the relationship we've built, something that is very important to me as a man and as an athlete," Booker said. "I need a great relationship with my head coach, and I talk to Coach (Dan) Mullen literally every day. He's talking about how I can be an instant-impact on the team and how that impact goes further than my athletic ability, with my leadership skills. Just how I can grow and develop at the University of Florida.
"And then they've gone out of their way to make that relationship with my family as well. Last year, I passed the phone to my mama and they wished my mother a happy birthday. That meant so much to me, I haven't forgotten about that."
The Bulldog angle has more of a longevity and business feel, not to mention the success the program has had with some of Booker's teammates at IMG Academy.
"Georgia really was the first big school that showed that much attention to me," he said. "They offered me when I was a defensive lineman and they stayed with me through my transition to the offensive line. For that, I will always be grateful to them, it always stood out to me.
"Also, IMG guys go there and succeed. Coach (Kirby) Smart loves IMG guys, of course he's gonna say that in trying to get me to go there. But with how much the University of Georgia resembles IMG, I know I can thrive in that environment. It has the same type of environment."
Booker is in his native Connecticut for the bulk of the offseason before returning to IMG ahead of fall camp. He was among the top performers at Under Armour's Atlanta-area prospect camp in March.
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