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April 17, 2003

JD Booty Makes Historical Decision

The USC Trojans signed a class for the ages back in February. The top player in just about every position in California said they were coming to Troy. Rivals.com had USC with the #3 class in the nation, and the possible reason for the Trojans not holding the top spot was the lack of a quarterback. Well, that was until Wednesday.

John David Booty from Evangel Christian High School in Shreveport, Louisiana has decided to finish high school early and enroll at USC in August. The 6-foot-3, 180 pound signal caller will finish the sole English credit he needs to complete high school this summer and come to Troy in July. He will be able to work out and start taking classes in August. More importantly, he will be able to participate in 2003 fall drills and potentially compete for the starting position when the team travels to Auburn on August 30th.

If you have not seen Booty play yet, I encourage you to check out these Rivals.com videos. He threw for more than 8,000 yards and 82 touchdowns in two seasons at Evangel and many called him the best quarterback in the country last year as a junior. He has already played more than his share of high school football due to a since outlawed rule that allowed students in Louisiana to be held back for athletic purposes. By all rights, Booty is a "senior" now but by rule he of course had another year to tune his skills that would have included a trip to De La Salle for what would have been an amazing match up.

Once his father and quarterback coach was fired for "ministry purposes" that reportedly dealt with a home and web ministry having some conflicts with Evangel's ministry, the decision was easy for JD to leave. The question is, was it the correct one.

From John's point of view, it appears not having his father there was a huge factor. Also he had already decided to graduate early and enroll in the spring, this is just moving the timetable up a few months. The obvious downfall is he will not take another high school snap in his career.

For the Trojan coaching staff, there is no doubt having an athlete of Booty's caliber is certainly welcome. The timing though might end up being a source of controversy in the fall.

Of course Evangel and even the Booty family are no stranger to controversial situations. There have been questions regarding many of the big time athletes who graduated from Evangel by many fans when players would choose to play baseball, transfer or even leave school early. The facts are clear though that of the last few quarterbacks coming out of Evangel, one is on an NFL roster and two others are poised to win starting jobs at major division 1 programs.

Even though the quarterback race was wide open this spring as the coaches tried to find a Palmer replacement, I feel the best thing for John David would be to redshirt this season and learn the system. Unless Booty comes in and just blows everyone's doors off, he would be better suited to learn under Coach Chow for a year and make a serious run at starting as a redshirt freshman in 2004.

The story here is far from over. Once Booty enrolls the coaches can comment on him and we get a better idea what they have in store for the most hyped quarterback to stroll the Trojan campus since Todd Marinovich.

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