St. Vincent-St. Mary senior linebacker Dante Booker Jr. has been named to the Parade Magazine All-American Football Team.
Booker, an Ohio State University recruit, will be recognized in the Feb. 2 issue of Parade Magazine. He was selected as the Akron Beacon Journal's Player of Year in November, Ohio's Mr. Football in December and played in the U.S. Army All-American Game in January.
Booker is set to sign a national letter of intent with OSU on Feb. 5. He helped St. V-M win the Division III state championship as a junior and senior.
Parade Magazine selected Will Grier of Davidson Day School in Davidson, N.C. as its Player of the Year on the annual All-America High School Football Team.
Over his high school career, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior quarterback has been amazingly consistent: Grier threw for 195 touchdowns, including 77 his senior year, and averaged 383 passing yards a game. He finished with 14,559 total passing yards while leading his team, the Patriots, to three straight state championships (he threw 10 touchdowns in one game in 2012).
“He made spectacular look routine,” sports editor of the local Lake Norman newspapers Cliff Mehrtens said in a press release. “I’ve been covering high school football for 20 years, and this was the kind of special performance I will probably never see again – someone who can dominate, and win state championships, for three seasons in a row.”
Grier said prefers to lie low and “enjoy a simple life.”
“I’m just a southern boy who likes to go mudding in my Jeep, quail hunting, and skeet shooting,” Grier said in the press release.
Grier, a midyear high school graduate, left Davidson and his family last month to start classes at the University of Florida.
Former Florida quarterbacks Chris Leak and Tim Tebow were each named Parade All-Americans in high school and then won college national championships under coach then-Gators coach Urban Meyer, who is now the Buckeyes coach.
Parade recognizes 57 players – 13 players on offense and 13 players on defense, with 31 players receiving Honorable Mention notice. The All-America team is selected by Paradecontributing editor Brian McLaughlin, who also covers recruiting for the college football site Saturday Down South. In selecting the team, he considered all-state teams, state player of the year honors, and statistics, as well as his own observations in person.
Parade has been recognizing top football players for the past 50 years The elite group has included 14 Heisman Trophy winners — including Earl Campbell, Tony Dorsett, Marcus Allen, Herschel Walker, Charles Woodson, and the last two Heisman winners, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston.
Manziel and Winston are part of a long quarterbacks whom Parade has tabbed as Player of the Year, including NFL Hall of Famers Joe Montana (class of 1973), Dan Marino and John Elway (both from the class of 1978 a vintage year that also saw Parade pick future NFL stars Eric Dickerson and Jeff Hostetler).
Parade picked a New Orleans high school senior named Peyton Manning in 1994 who is having a record-setting year in the NFL this season.
“It’s crazy and such an honor to see some of the names from past teams,” Grier said in the press release. “I’ll look back in 25 years and say, ‘How amazing.’ It’s a cool fraternity to be a part of.”
For the full 2014 Parade All-American Team list, and more on Parade’s Player of the Year, see Sunday’s issue, or visit parade.com.
“The Parade list is like the Rose Bowl,” sports editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press Jay Greeson said in the press release. “It was there first. It’s the granddaddy of them all.”