Chris Booker is getting an opportunity to compete for an NFL roster spot.
A former Ohio State walk-on who was a core special teams player for the Buckeyes for the past two seasons, Booker has been invited to the Arizona Cardinals’ rookie minicamp, he told Eleven Warriors on Saturday.
Booker has not yet signed a contract with the Cardinals, but has been told by the Cardinals they are interested in signing him if he performs well at minicamp.
When Booker transferred to Ohio State in 2017, he never would have imagined he’d be in position to compete for an NFL roster spot. He did not initially plan to play football at Ohio State, but after joining the club football team and becoming an NCFA All-American in 2018, Booker landed the chance to play for the varsity team in 2019.
In his final season as a Buckeye, Booker played the third-most special teams snaps on the entire team and made some key plays in the kicking game, including a forced fumble on a kickoff return against Purdue and the game-sealing tackle in Ohio State’s Rose Bowl win over Utah.
Booker had hoped to play another season with the Buckeyes in 2022, but the NCAA denied his appeal for an additional year of eligibility. So he decided to take his shot at playing professionally even though he had only two catches for 27 yards at Ohio State, a product of being a walk-on on a loaded wide receiver depth chart that included two first-round picks in this year’s draft.
“I know in my heart that I am good enough,” Booker told Eleven Warriors in March. “And I also know that I have things waiting for me if football doesn't work out. But I know that football is what I want to do right now.”
Booker is getting his chance to realize his NFL dream, and he’ll look to parlay his excellence on special teams – usually a prerequisite to making a team as an undrafted free agent – into earning a spot on the Cardinals’ roster.