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Monday, May 20, 2013
ESPN 150 OT has top eight in mind

By Jared Shanker

It was a Thursday night in late April and Alex Bookser (Pittsburgh/Mount Lebanon) was watching the NFL draft. A 6-foot-6, 295-pound prospect, Bookser is being recruited as a lineman on both sides of the ball.

Bookser was an offensive lineman by the end of the night Thursday.

“Ever since I saw the draft I decided to go O-line,” said Bookser, referring to the run on tackles in the first round, including three among the first five picks. “That was the biggest draft I’ve ever seen, so I was like if I can get that far it’ll definitely pay off.”

With more than 20 offers to his name, Bookser was already being recruited mostly as an offensive tackle, where he is ranked No. 14 nationally. As a two-way player for Mount Lebanon, Bookser likes defense a little more because he can play with a little more emotion on the defensive line. He understands why coaches project him best on offense, though.

“Just from my frame, 6-foot-6, 300 pounds, and I’m carrying 300 pounds and I’m not completely fat. It’s just how I’m built,” the four-star lineman said.

In the next few weeks, Bookser is working toward forming a complete top eight. Coming into the spring evaluation period, he already had a good idea of which schools would make his cut, but one program skyrocketed toward the top after visiting his high school.

An Alabama assistant was at Bookser’s school two weeks ago, and it was the first time he was able to get a better idea of the Tide program since offering a few months ago.

“I hadn’t talked to them, but I really like them, like how they do business,” Bookser said. “They’re really different from a lot of schools. They got in my top eight.”

Not officially set, Bookser’s top eight will likely consist of Alabama, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Virginia. He is hoping to visit the Tide, Wildcats and Volunteers this summer.

The No. 2 prospect in Pennsylvania could visit Penn State next. He visited back in April with teammate Troy Apke, who committed to the Nittany Lions on the visit. Now, Bookser wants to make it back to State College, but this time with his family.

“I definitely want to go back up to Penn State,” he said. “I went up with Troy because I went the weekend after I visited Ohio State, so my family was a little worn out. They didn’t get to come up and meet the coaches.”

“They seem like they have a really good coaching staff. Coach Mac [McWhorter] is a really good guy, he’s funny, and it’s really important for me and for [the coaches], too, because all the schools bring in fans, all the schools have great facilities. It comes down to wherever I want to spend four years, and it depends on the relationships I can build.”