Sept. 11, 2006
A hero is defined as a person who is noted for courageous acts of nobility or purpose. The definition further goes on to bestow the title of hero on a person who is noted for special achievements in a particular field.
Heroes are selected differently and many paths are taken to choose those heroes. Some are chosen because of a particular incident or occurrence in one’s life. Others are selected because of their stature on a playing field, their legendary status, their worldly triumphs or their religious beliefs.
Seminole running back Lorenzo Booker didn’t have to look far to find his hero when he was growing up, because she had been at his side all along — his mother Sharon.
“For me, a hero is my mom,” said Booker shortly before the two-a-day practice sessions leading into the 2006 season concluded. “A hero is somebody who just keeps getting up and not complaining about the challenges she has to face. A hero is a person who raises three kids, never cries and gives those three kids
everything they ever wanted or needed.”
The youngest of those three kids, Booker has also made it a habit of facing the challenges ahead of him straight on. Going into the second game of his senior season, he is on pace to become one of Florida State’s all-time top-10 leading rushers. Booker needs less than 300 rushing yards to join Warrick Dunn, Greg Allen and Travis Minor as the most prolific rushers in Seminole history.
The first really big challenge of Booker’s life presented itself in the form of a decision on where he would attend college and play foot-ball. As someone who is very close to his mother, older brother and older sister, he had quite a dilemma on his hands.
Would the southern California native stay on the West Coast and attend Southern Cal, travel halfway across the country and go to Notre Dame, or move from one coast to the other and become a Seminole?
Following his sophomore season in high school during which Booker rushed for more than 2,500 yards and scored 40 touchdowns, Booker and his family knew that football was going to be big part of his life and that the sport was going to help him reach his goals.
“I have always loved football and I have always liked Florida State,” Booker remembers. “I fell in love with Florida State after it won the 1999 National Championship. I watched that game over and over — enough so that I can say what the commentators are going to say before they say it. I fell in love with the
attitude; I fell in love with the swagger — I wanted to be a Seminole from that point on.”
A self-proclaimed momma’s boy, Booker and his family decided that Florida State was the best place for him. The family felt it would be a bad decision for him not to attend the school he wanted to attend just because it was far from home.
“Even then my mom never cried,” said Booker.
Booker’s first challenge as a Seminole came during his true freshman season when he approached head coach Bobby Bowden about sitting out the year as a redshirt. After arriving at Florida State as one of the most heralded recruits in recent memory and making his college choice live on ESPN, his request took the
coaches by surprise.
As a true freshman Booker found himself behind two future NFL players — Greg Jones and Nick Maddox — on the depth chart at the end of preseason practice. He felt it was wise to save a year of eligibility and compete for the starting job in his second year in Tallahassee.
Though he had been every bit as productive as the players ahead of him on the depth chart, Bowden saw the wisdom in Booker’s decision to sit out his first season
“I talked to Lorenzo and he’s smart enough to realize it was a good idea,” said Bowden at the time. “I’m just glad it was his idea. A lot of times, freshmen would waste it (the year).”
Booker looked to his mom and the father figure in his life, Curtis Richardson, for strength.
Together they decided sitting out the season and keeping four years of eligibility was in his best interest.
Another well-publicized challenge came Booker’s way at the end of the 2005 season.
After enjoying his best season statistically with 552 rushing yards and six touchdowns, Booker sat down with the Seminole coaching staff to discuss his role in the team’s offensive scheme in 2006. With a healthy offensive line and another year of playing experience for quarter-back Drew Weatherford, Booker was happy with what he heard and decided to return for his final season.
Once again, Booker relied on his mother’s wisdom along with the advice of former Seminole running backs Dunn and Leon Washington in making another of the biggest decisions of his life.
Booker knows that he will be counted on to be a senior leader for the Seminoles’ offense this season.
Despite being projected as a third round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, Booker returned to Florida State with unfinished business in his senior season. He will earn his degree in social science in December and is desperate to lead the Seminoles to a national championship.
“I decided to come back to finish school and play another year, because I feel like I’m not done with what I set out to accomplish at Florida State,” Booker said.
For Booker, his decision to choose his mom as his hero came easy. He wants to return the favor one day in the near future and become a hero to his mom.
By Chuck Walsh Associate Sports Information Director