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Thursday, January 11, 2001
Updated: January 12, 10:05 AM ET
NFL calling LSU's Booty

Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. -- For the second time, LSU's Josh Booty decided it's time to turn pro.

Booty, the LSU starting quarterback for most of the past two seasons, will skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

Josh Booty
Josh Booty is one of three quarterbacks to declare eligibility for the NFL.
"After the season was over I went home and kind of questioned what I want to do," Booty said Thursday. "I felt like next year I wanted to be in an NFL uniform and trying to make an NFL team. If I came back here, there's a lot of things that could happen. I felt like this was the best time for me to go and I felt like I'm leaving LSU in good hands."

Booty, 25, the Parade's 1993 high school player of the at Evangel Academy in Shreveport, set national prep records by passing for 11,700 and 126 touchdowns. LSU fans were crushed when Booty opted for pro baseball after high school. He spent five years with the Florida Marlins, never making it to the majors and finally buying his way out to return to LSU.

He started eight games for the Tigers' in 1999 when LSU finished 3-8. Booty led the nation in interceptions per attempt with 19 in 333 attempts. This season, under new coach Nick Saban, Booty improved but still struggled.

In LSU's Peach Bowl win over Georgia Tech, Booty was sacked three times and fumbled twice while completing 8-of-19 passes for 110 yards in the first half. LSU trailed 14-3, and Booty was replaced Rohan Davey in the second half.

"I think maybe, after the last two games I had to sit back and really say maybe it's best for me that I go," Booty said. "I think Rohan played good, so I think LSU's in good hands."

Booty, 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, will leave for Newport Beach, Calif., on Monday to begin working with a group of specialists that include nutritionists, strength coaches and quarterback coaches. The group, assembled by Leigh Steinberg, Booty's new agent, will try to boost the quarterback's performance in the scouting combines this spring.

"He's said he thinks we can move up in the draft and land in a good position," Booty said. "Now where it is, whether it's a fourth-round, fifth-round, first-round, second-round, third-round, you don't know, but I'm going to try to get drafted as high as possible."