Why shouldn’t I dominate? That’s the question Thomas Booker IV of Baltimore, Maryland asks himself every time he steps out on the football field for the Gilman Greyhounds.
He also wants to dominate the technology and business field one day. He loves technology, smartphones, their operating systems and the process that goes into making them. Business, economics and finance are college majors he may consider as a result of this passion.
Booker IV finished up an eight academic week program at Stanford University over the summer break where he was learning about the principles of economics and he has big plans for his future after his football career is over.
“…I’m definitely interested in technology and how it relates to business. I’d say my dream job is me being an executive at Google or Apple and seeing the business side of technology,” he said.
Thomas Booker IV started playing the game in seventh grade and his father Thomas Booker III, played football at the Gilman School and Wisconsin University, as a linebacker.
“The thing that I love about the game, honestly for me, [are] two things: I love sacking the quarterback and I love catching the football. Those are two things I love and I get to do them at both positions. I [play] tight end in special packages,” Booker IV said. “So, just the excitement of playing the game of football and getting together with your brothers that you’ve been sacrificing with for so long and that you’ve been putting in [work with] to get a victory, a successful season and that bond that you make with people that you can’t make anywhere else; those are the main things that really excite about playing football.”
His mother and father, he says, are his rocks and they’re people who support him at all times and his relationship with God is strong as well. Booker IV believes that he wouldn’t be able to do the things he does without Him.
“… I’m not one of those people that thinks a man isn’t an island, I know for a fact that everything I have is a result of other things around me and I just have to do the best with what I’m afforded.”
Balance has been something that he said is the toughest he has had to overcome. While balance is a never ending thing to grapple with in all phases of life, creating and maintaining that balance with academics, athletics, and being a leader is something that he continues struggles with.
Thomas Booker IV is now a junior at the Gilman School in Baltimore, Maryland. He had the confidence to play the game because his father played but confidence is only going to take you so far. A player has to put in the work in order to stand out and make a name for himself.
He is ranked as a four star recruit in the 2018 class according to the 247sports Composite. He is the 12th best tight end and seventh best player in Maryland. He also plays defensive end. He has received scholarship offers from Michigan, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Toledo, Kentucky Christian and Duke. He recorded 13 catches and four touchdowns at tight end and eight sacks at defensive end. See his sophomore highlight film here.
“It’s been awesome so far so it started a little early, around the middle of my sophomore year [when] I got my first offer. Ever since then it’s been picking up a little bit but over the course of the summer since I’ve been at Stanford, it’s been [lax]. My schedule for the day is just wake up, study, go to class, work out, go to sleep and repeat. In terms of overall it’s been a great process so far, I’m just a sophomore currently, it’s going to pick up on September 1, junior year, we’ll see what happens then. It’s been a great process so far.”
He’s still early in the recruiting process so he hasn’t really thought about a list of top schools yet but he’s looking for a school with a combination of excellent academics and athletics as well as great fans.
As far as how schools are recruiting him, he had this to say.
“It’s kind of a mixed back in terms what schools are recruiting me as. …It’s kind of both. First and foremost, I’m a football player so I’ll play wherever they need me to play but some schools are looking at tight end, some schools are looking at defense. It depends on the personnel that they have lined up and how they run their offenses,” he said. “Me personally, I love playing tight end and people passing me the ball but if that’s not a part of the offense then I’d love to play defense. If you looked at the highlight tape, I love playing both. Again two favorite things to do: sacking the quarterback and scoring touchdowns.”
The six-foot-four, 250 pound, tight end and defensive end said that with him getting the ball in his hands, he can be a huge threat and he prides himself on being taken down by multiple guys after he fights for extra yards. Defensively, he can rush the passer really well and get to the quarterback with not much difficulty.
“Both positions I feel like I do pretty well at but I do love scoring the ball. When we’re passing the ball, I feel like I can be a pretty big mismatch. A lot of people don’t think a guy my size can move the way I can.”
He believes that both his mental and physical abilities are his best assets, his ability to react and adapt situations and positions he’s put in on the field along with his aggressiveness. He’s not afraid of contact on either side of the ball.
“…I don’t ever get overpowered by people. I do the overpowering. I have great hands, if you put the ball in my vicinity, I’m coming down with it.”
The things he needs to get better on are his footwork, hip flexibility and developing mobility and agility so he is able to create separation and get open on the offensive side. Defensively, technique, hand placement and explosiveness are also things he said need work along with speed. The thing that kills.
The Gilman Greyhounds went 10-1 (6-0 Region) in 2015. They capped off the decorated career of former Gilman football head coach Biff Poggi by beating McDonough High School 35-28, in the 100th meeting between the two programs. Poggi decided to leave the program after leading them to 13 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championships in his 19 year coaching career there. Booker IV described the feelings on the big win.
“It was fantastic. I’ve been to Gilman for about 12 years now. I’ve been around Gilman football for a while and my dad played at Gilman so I’ve been looking at the teams for the longest time. I actually made the eighth grade graduation speech of my class and I talked about how you have to live up to the expectations of the 100th game and it’s just surreal that I got to play in it, I got to start and play a big role in it. So the fact that we could get that huge win at McDonough in such spectacular fashion, it was almost unreal.”
Thomas Booker IV described what Poggi meant to the Gilman football program and in his mind, Poggi’s biggest impact was the culture he built.
“Coach Poggi has been incredible to us. He’s inspired a new culture, one that has stood the test of time. Even when you don’t have the best guys and you see how they perform, you know that culture is real and it sticks. His culture is earned not given and building a brotherhood on the team no matter who you were, no matter whether you started or not really kind of went through the entire team. It will definitely be missed but at the same time I’m excited to get started with some new coaches that I think are very, very, promising. I think coach Poggi meant a ton, a ton, to this program.”