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Last updated: Thu. Feb. 06, 2014 - 01:45 am EDT

Booth set to create 'new path' at IU

4-star receiver part of heralded class

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BLOOMINGTON -- Dominique Booth wants the challenge. So bring on man-to-man coverage. Let's see who's the best.

“That's fun. That's when you get to show what you can do, what you've been working on. As a receiver, it's the coverage you want. It's the perfect opportunity.”

Perfect or not, Booth will get his shot for the Indiana Hoosiers. The Indianapolis Pike High School standout is part of a 26-player class designed to finally get the program into the bowl scene.

Booth, a four-star prospect rated as the state's No. 4 player, is ready to make instant impact, and whether it's at inside or outside receiver doesn't matter.

“You've got to work to get your spot,” he said. “That's what I plan on doing. That's what it is.”

Booth did the work at Pike. He set school career records for catches (145), receiving yards (1,851) and receiving touchdowns (21). In his last two years he totaled 99 catches for 1,266 yards and 16 touchdowns.

He is one of six recruits who enrolled early and who are participating in winter workouts. He picked the Hoosiers after decommitting from Tennessee and then passing on offers from almost every big-time program around, including Alabama, Michigan State, Missouri and Wisconsin.

“That wasn't what I was looking at. I'm a future-oriented guy. I see this program as being something wonderful. I'm not scared to do what's never been done before. I don't like to follow in line. I want to create new paths. That's why I'm here.”

Coach Kevin Wilson is glad he is.

“We got on him early. He'd been to a camp here as a 10th-grader. He'd been here a bunch. We were very lucky when he opened up his recruiting again. We needed receivers. It fell our way. We're excited we have a (five) Indiana guys here, but we don't need them to be here, we need them to do well. Them coming doesn't help us or them. They have to be successful to bring more successful in-state guys. We need them to do a great job.

“(Booth is) a quality receiver. He can play inside or outside. We don't think it's a big deal. We'll figure it out. Him being here midyear will help with attrition. He's a mature kid and a great student.”

Is Booth a great blocker? Booth insists he takes such pride in it, he even made a high school highlight video of his blocking called, “Smack Down.”

“It was all me pancaking people,” he said. “On offense you're supposed to score, not pancake people. People thought it was my real highlight film. I'm pretty good at blocking. I take pride in that. On offense you don't get a lot of chances to hit someone, so when you do, take advantage of it.”

Booth picked IU for many reasons, including the fact it was close enough for his family to see games.

“I never knew much about a lot of the colleges that were recruiting me, but this is one school I did know a lot about growing up. It's only an hour from home. My family can easily get here. It's a good situation.”

It also helped that Booth grew up with defensive lineman David Kenney, who also went to Pike.

“I've known him since I was 3 years old,” Booth said. “He's a character. He's a great guy to be around.”

Booth said the Hoosiers are a program on the rise. The rankings reflect that. Rivals.com, a national Internet recruiting service, rates this year's class as No. 37 nationally, one spot better than last year. That represents the best consecutive years of recruiting in school history.

Rivals.com also rates this class as No. 7 in the Big Ten.

“The program is on the way up,” Booth said. “The last two years it led the Big Ten in passing. We have a young defense and all they can do is get better. In four years we can be at the top of the Big Ten.”

pdiprimio@news-sentinel.com


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