Booker is back


Published: Friday, January 13, 2006 at 12:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 13, 2006 at 12:43 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Lorenzo Booker, who led Florida State in rushing this past season, said Thursday that he will remain in school for his final year of eligibility.

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Booker, who took a redshirt year his freshman season in 2002, said NFL talent scouts evaluated him as a likely third-round pick in the April draft, or possibly a late second-round pick if he tested well at next month's NFL combine.

"That's not good enough for me," said Booker, who is scheduled to graduate next December. "It motivates me to want to come back."

The 5-foot-11, 187-pound running back finished the season with a team-high 552 yards rushing, averaging 4.6 yards a carry. He also caught 38 passes for 328 yards and a pair of touchdowns in addition to the four he scored on the ground.

Booker, who acknowledged he was frustrated at times during the 2005 season with the Seminoles' inability to run the football, talked Wednesday with coach Bobby Bowden about his role on next year's team.

"He really wants me to be consistent as far as carrying the ball 15, 16 times and being productive with it," Booker said. "I'm not asking for 25, 30 carries a game."

Former Seminole great Warrick Dunn of the Atlanta Falcons also counseled Booker during his decision-making process.

"He understood my frustrations," Booker said. "He really didn't tell me to go one way or the other."

Rising sophomore Antone Smith, who ran for 188 yards as a backup to Booker and senior Leon Washington, will begin spring practice as the No. 2 tailback.

Booker's 1,773 yards rushing leaves him 12th on Florida State's career chart. He needs 306 yards to move into 10th place ahead of Washington.

Florida State, which won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship for the 12th time in 14 years, finished the season 8-5, ranked 23rd nationally.

Two underclassmen, linebacker Ernie Sims and cornerback Antonio Cromartie, have already surrendered their remaining eligibility at Florida State to enter the NFL draft.

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