Devontae Booker burst onto the scene in 2014 for the Utah Football team. He entered spring ball with a focus to prove he belonged on a Pac-12 roster. The Sacramento, CA, product originally committed to Washington State out of high school, but instead went to American River College. After JC, he committed to Utah in 2013, but failed to qualify. Utah coaches and fans would all agree that they would have loved to have seen him
The Utah staff fully expected Booker to be a contributor in 2014, but it would be difficult to supplant 2013 starter Bubba Poole to begin the season. Some suspect fumble issues, and poor pass protection may have kept Booker number two on the depth chart. He had some great plays in the first few games, but it wasn't until he exploded onto the scene with his first 100 yard game versus Washington State that Utah knew they had something special.
Booker didn't slow down after that. In total Devontae Booker had seven games over 100 yards rushing, including a 229 yard game at Oregon State. That game that he almost single-handedly put the Utah offense on his shoulders, and he ran to an overtime victory. Bill Riley Utah's play by play voice nicknamed him "The Beast," and some began calling him, "Baby Marshawn Lynch" or "Baby Beast Mode" after the Seattle Seahawk running back, who is also from Northern California.
Speaking of single-handed, Booker proved himself a tremendous receiving threat out of the backfield, not only making spectacular one-handed catches, but turning those receptions into huge gains. Whether receiving or rushing the ball, Booker was extremely difficult for opposing defenses to bring down. Booker gained 815 yards after contact, blowing away the rest of the Pac-12 competition, with no other running backs within 200 yards of that statistic.
Devontae Booker should be the focus of the opposition in 2015, but if he is able to surpass his statistics of 2015, he should be at the top of a few watch lists in college football. He'll have the opportunity to show what he can do on the brightest of stages. Booker also will have the opportunity to surpass John White IV's Utah single season rushing record; a record that he and the coaches thought he had achieved in the Las Vegas Bowl, but came up seven yards short.
A good year from Devontae Booker in 2015 will almost certainly put bring him the accolades he deserves, and wins for the Utes.