Posted: 2:34 pm Friday, August 29th, 2008
By Jason Lieser
Glades Central wide receiver Rantavious Wooten said he is committed to play for Louisiana State University next year.
“When I looked at both programs, it came down to the type of offense they run at LSU and the things they do at receiver,” Wooten said. “They do little screen plays, reverses and short bait routes; it’s very similar to what we do here.”
He is 5-10, 165 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. In addition to offers from Georgia and LSU, Wooten drew interest from Miami, Michigan, West Virginia and Arkansas, among others.
Wooten announced his decision after Thursday’s conference calls with Georgia and LSU. He is widely considered the No. 2 receiver prospect in Palm Beach County, behind Pahokee’s Nu’Keese Richardson. Richardson will start at quarterback this year, meaning Wooten is poised to be the county’s top receiver on Friday nights.
It has been a grueling week for Wooten. Earlier this week he said he knew his choice, but recently wrestled with the decision.
“He’s probably pulling hairs trying to decide which school is better suited for him,” Glades Central coach Jessie Hester said after Thursday’s practice. “I can see it on him right now, and that’s why I really haven’t spoken with him about it other than telling him to include his parents in the decision.”
Hester immediately moved Wooten from quarterback to wide receiver when he took the head job this season. A former receiver for Glades Central and Florida State before he went on to the NFL, he agreed with college scouts who saw Wooten as a natural receiver.
The Raiders posted 54 points in their spring game win over Miami Central, and Wooten was in top form with four catches for 128 yards and three touchdowns.
Despite playing quarterback — he split time there with three other players — Wooten caught 23 passes for 443 yards and five touchdowns last year. He had five catches for 101 yards and a score in the Muck Bowl. On the ground, he averaged nearly 8 yards per carry and had seven rushing touchdowns.
LSU had a verbal commitment from Glades Central offensive lineman Henry Orelus earlier this year, but Orelus switched his pledge to Florida State. LSU also lost out to Florida State on its bid for Okeechobee running back Lonnie Pryor.
Wooten also plays basketball and track for the Raiders.
Wooten drew interest from Miami, Michigan, West Virginia and Arkansas, among others. He is visiting Baton Rouge for the LSU-Georgia game, and said he might visit Georgia as well, but has not scheduled the trip.
After choosing LSU, he called it a “closed door” for any other team seeking to land him.
“It feels very good,” Wooten said. “It’s a lot of pressure off my back. Now I can just enjoy my senior year.”
LSU threw the ball 415 times last season, compared to 338 for Georgia. The Tigers passed for close to 3,000 yards on their way to a national championship in 2007. LSU currently has seven wide receivers in the NFL, including Kansas City’s Dwayne Bowe, a first-round pick in ’07.