ANDRE BOOKER, all 5-foot-whatever of him, was called Marshall's most physical wide receiver after Saturday's scrimmage.
You might if you saw the scrimmage, in which he and Chris Alston shared ironman duty at slot receiver. The two combined to take every snap, and combined for 19 catches in a performance that left fans almost forgetting Jermaine Kelson and Jazz King were out.
Booker, generally known as the man so fast it seems to cost him his balance, has indeed developed a little toughness over the years. Seeing him without pads Saturday, he looks a lot different than he did in 2009, when coach Mark Snyder burned his redshirt in a selfish act of desperation.
(That move gets more grating by the minute. I mean, how excited would a Thundering Herd fan be if Booker and Aaron Dobson had two seasons remaining instead of one?)
He may be nowhere near his listed 5-foot-10, but Booker is more solidly built. Coming out of the slot, he is not shy about contact.
He caught seven passes for 75 yards in the scrimmage, with a few slant patterns standing out. He fought for 12 yards on a third-and-6 and slipped through the second level for 21 yards on third-and-7.
His biggest play came on a second-and-15, when he nearly broke a 65-yard touchdown catch-and-run. It took a spirited chase by Keith Baxter to hold Booker to 37 yards.
"He's by far the most physical receiver we've got," said quarterback Rakeem Cato. "He'll do anything, sacrifice his body; he's just a wall. A wall running into a wall. He doesn't care about his body."
(A wall running into a wall? Cato and backup QB Blake Frohnapfel are waging a fierce battle to be the team's best quote.)
Booker has bounced around the offense over the years, and seems to be settling in the slot for good. That's a good thing - he doesn't have Dobson's height to dominate cornerbacks on the outside and he's now solid enough to take hits from linebackers and safeties.
And keep on going. One of his best assets: He runs forward and doesn't try to be a "dance king."
"That's one thing Coach Doc [Holliday], he stresses: You catch the ball, you get up north, and no dancing around," Booker said. "That what he likes to see, especially on the next level - get that extra yardage, don't go running backwards."
Antavious Wilson, having a nice spring as the starting "Y" receiver, might take note. He tried to juke a cornerback, who took advantage of the wasted motion to make an easy tackle. As I recall, Wilson was not chosen for the poolside dance contest at the bowl game last December.
With good reason.
Much is being made about the re-emphasis of press coverage by the cornerbacks under new position coach Lytrel Pollard. This has been a hot-button issue, before and after West Virginia's 2009 comeback, aided by prevent-type cushions from Herd corners.