John David Booty is one of a kind in the football world.
Out of all the hundreds of thousands of high school, college and NFL players over the last 150 years or so there is nobody else that I have ever heard of or have known about that has done what John David Booty has done.
Every year more and more college football players are declaring for the NFL draft. This year, there were a record number 103 players on the list of guys leaving at least a year early. Some of them are even leaving after 2 years of playing because the NFL only requires a player to stay 3 years in college and those players have redshirted their first season.
The bad thing about this is that a lot of these guys aren’t really NFL caliber players and not only don’t get drafted but they don’t even play at the next level. Then, if they even care about bettering their lives, they have to finish school on their own dime. It’s not a good strategy unless you are a sure fire first round draft pick. If the player is a late round draft pick or a free agent, they should stay in school and use up their eligibility.
But, John David Booty went one step further than all of them.
Booty got enough credits to graduate a year early and skipped his entire senior year of high school. It has become all the rage in recent years for a highly recruited high school player to skip the end of his senior year of high school, but these guys are playing their senior years of high school before leaving. It’s a really good idea to go through Spring practice with your college team and get a leg up on your freshman season. But, to miss your senior year of football to enter college ball is a totally different level. The average Joe is more than likely not going to be ready physically for the pounding at the college level.
Coming out of Louisiana football factory, Shreveport Evangel, Booty was one of the highest rated recruits in the country. In spite of skipping his senior year of high school, Booty still threw for over 8000, career yards and won state championships.
He followed older brother Josh Booty and Brock Berlin as the QB at one of the best high school programs in the entire country. Both of those guys played college football and in the NFL and John David followed in their footsteps.
John David Booty signed with USC and was a member of the same recruiting class as Reggie Bush, LenDale White, Whitney Lewis and 24 others making this one of the top classes in the nation.
Booty apparently thought he would come in and start from day one, but was Matt Leinart’s back up in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Leinart won the Heisman in 2004 and USC took the national championship when Matt announced he would be returning to USC in 2005. There was talk of Booty transferring somewhere for playing time which in hindsight would have been totally ridiculous.
QB’s transferring at the drop of a hat is ridiculous anyway, in my opinion, and Booty did the right thing by staying.
After Leinart graduated, Booty became the starter for the Trojans and wound up throwing for over 6,000 career yards at USC. His best season was 2006 when he passed for 3,347 yards and 29 TDs.
Booty ended his career as a Trojan as the Rose Bowl MVP in the 2008 game against Illinois.
Booty was a 5th round draft pick by the Minnesota Vikings, but did very little in the NFL.
Both Booty brothers and Brock Berlin were highly hyped high school recruits that saw some success at the college level and all played in the NFL. But, all are considered a disappointment overall because of the hype that was placed on them when they were young.
It’s always a good thing to be able to play football professionally, so anyone that makes it to that level should be celebrated. But, when you have that much hype placed on you at an early age, then you are always a disappointment when you don’t have a Joe Montana type NFL career and there was only one Joe Montana.
Chris Simms is the perfect example of my point. Simms came out of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey as the top QB recruit in the country. He committed to Tennessee which was expected and Tennessee then was a QB factory. He switched his commitment and signed with Texas and threw for lots of
yards and won a lot of games. But, he never escaped the shadow of Major Applewhite and the Texas fans never welcomed him as their QB. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and started for the Bucs a little bit, but was considered by most to be a major bust.
John David Booty threw for over 6,000 yards, Brock Berlin threw for just a shade under 6,000 and Chris Simms threw for over 7,000 college yards and all are considered disappointments. College football fans, in their infinite wisdom, all start talking national championship immediately when their school picks up a guy like one of these recruits. None of them won the national championship so they are labeled a bust.
Whether John David Booty is considered a bust or a disappointment or a success is probably going to be up to the individual that cares to have an opinion on the matter.
But, there is one thing that nobody can ever take away from John David Booty. He is the only guy that I have ever heard of that skipped his entire senior year of high school to play college football.