March 2, 2024

Austin Booker satisfied with what he showcased at the Senior Bowl

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Kansas Jayhawks Football, 2024 NFL Draft

Kansas defensive lineman Austin Booker runs drills with teammates during Senior Bowl practice Wednesday January 31, 2024 at Hancock Whitney Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

MOBILE, Ala. — He was one of two Jayhawks that participated at the Senior Bowl, and the edge rusher didn’t disappoint after a solid week in Mobile.

There’s no denying that Austin Booker takes pride in wreaking havoc off the edge. After all, he finished second in the Big 12 in sacks per game last season. Booker was an enforcer on Kansas’ defensive line, and capped off his campaign with first-team, All-Big 12 honors.

The six-foot-four, 240-pounder continues to carry that momentum on his path to the NFL Draft. From the interviews, to performing on the gridiron with the best of the best, Booker is proud of how he handled the once in a lifetime experience.

“I feel like I showcased all of my skills, I definitely want to get more reps on run-stopping, just showcasing that I can put my hand in the dirt and stop the run,” Booker said. “Other than that, I feel like I showcased everything that I put on film, and I want to continue to do better.”

Booker has a very long wingspan too. He uses it like a weapon on the field, batting down passes and disrupting the timing of opposing offenses. Booker understands that being an every down defensive lineman at the next level is going to require him to be more versatile. So he has to excel at rushing the passer, as well as bringing down ball-carriers in the backfield.

Regardless, Booker is confident that he has the tools that it takes to get the job done, including a low center of gravity, a non-stop motor, and a quick first step. Maneuvering through offensive tackles isn’t easy by any means, but Booker clearly uses his physical attributes to his advantage.

“My length, but not only my length, I have the speed and power to go with it,” he said. “Not everybody has all three of those, and I’m just blessed to be gifted.”

The former three-star prospect gives credit to Coach Lance Leipold and his staff for molding him into the caliber of player that he is today. Booker enjoyed his time as a Jayhawk, and he helped the team become Big 12 contenders too.

“It was a great experience, and all I needed was an opportunity, so I give thanks to them for giving me that opportunity, and I can’t be more thankful,” the Indiana native said.

Everything is starting to come full circle for Booker, as he navigates through his path to the NFL Draft. Most importantly, he plans on representing Kansas well in the pros. Booker likes a little bit of everyone in terms of skill set, and has no particular edge rusher that he molds his game after. In his Booker’s mind it’s what makes him unique, and separates him from the other edge rushers in this year’s draft class.

“I try to be my own player, but I do look at all of the other defensive linemen in the NFL to see what they do right, and what they do wrong, so I don’t make the same mistakes.”

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