BRADENTON, Fla. (BVM) – With his dominant stature and unparalleled stats, University of Alabama commit and current IMG Academy offensive lineman Tyler Booker is no stranger to national attention. The top-ranked five-star offensive tackle and No. 7-ranked Florida prospect in the 2022 class, Booker’s athletic dominance on the field is not easily overlooked.
Standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing 325 pounds, the New Haven native has had his eye on the national gridiron for years.
“I left Connecticut before my freshman year of high school in hopes of a great education and great athletics,” Booker said. “I couldn’t find much in my home state, so I had to look to the nearest football powerhouse and I found that at Bergen [Catholic]. When I got the opportunity to compete among the best and against the best the next year at IMG, I knew that move would push me to grow even more.”
Since his transition to Bradenton, Booker’s accomplishments speak for themselves. As the No. 35-ranked prospect in the nation and leading voice of his Ascenders squad, Booker attributes much of his amounting success to his teammates and the inspiring atmosphere of IMG.
“What we have is a brotherhood,” Booker said. “We are like a normal family — we fight every now and then, but at the end of the day, we hug it out and go get something to eat together. It’s not easy being away from your family and living with people you don’t know. But the culture at IMG is just different. To be somewhere with like minded athletes and to have the coaches that we do, there’s a reason we are the best in the nation.”
Booker’s unmatched determination and work ethic brought in 30 offers from the top colleges in the country. It was Alabama’s letter that Booker claimed had what he was looking for.
“I have seen how much I’ve grown here at IMG and how I thrive in an environment where you have to compete,” Booker said. “Alabama is a place where you are going to be pressured to compete every single day. It’s a place where you’re going to find the next best version of you. And that’s the goal at the end of it all.”
Booker’s athletic and academic schedules are rigorous, with little down time for himself. When he does have free time, the athlete said his favorite pastime is diving into a good read. According to Booker, books offer perspectives that sometimes can’t be found in his day-to-day life. And absorbing that kind of information only helps this high schooler navigate his growing notoriety and success.
“Figuring out who you are as a person is something I struggle with to this day,” Booker said. “I always ask myself, ‘What else can I do other than being an athlete?.’ This grind consumes you and it’ll define you if you let it. I am just trying to learn more about myself and the world day by day and push myself to be more than just an athlete.”
Booker plans to study sports psychology at Tuscaloosa and deepen his understanding of the importance of mental health in athletics. His hope is that by understanding more himself, he will be able to share his knowledge with others.
“Psychology is a huge interest of mine and I plan to major in it at Alabama,” Booker said. “I’ve seen how much I have improved by taking the mental part of playing football seriously. I want to help other athletes tap into that potential to be the best they can be, too.”
With a pursuant need for perspective at his young age, it’s no wonder this all-star athlete has made such an impact at every turn. And Booker has made it clear that his long-term goals include more than just football.
“After my football career is complete, I plan to go back to Connecticut and give back to my community,” Booker said. “New Haven is such a talented place with really talented people. I want to show my community that success can be found by more than being a professional athlete — they can be a doctor, a dentist, a school teacher. We don’t see a lot of representation of success in my community, so I want to be that representation and help people see their potential.”
His willingness to learn and drive to understand is what makes Booker top tier in all aspects. His future is bright as he prepares to step onto the nation’s top college gridiron. And his time on the Crimson Tide turf? Expect to be inspired.
“I am a firm believer that pressure makes dominance,” Booker said. “You either get right or get left. So throwing myself in that fire – I know I’ll get the most out of myself as an athlete and a man within these next three to four years.”