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Utah's Devontae Booker draws comparison to Tiki Barber

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Rick Bowmer/Associated Press
Utah running back Devontae Booker will have to make a decision about his future after the season.

The wait has been worth it for Utah junior tailback Devontae Booker, who has made quite an impression in his first season on the field with the Utes.

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He is second in the Pac-12 in rushing at 117.22 yards per game, has eight rushing touchdowns and has had five 100-yard outings; he also has 20 receptions for 216 yards and two touchdowns. Booker, who graduated from high school in 2010, signed with Utah out of junior college as part of the 2013 recruiting class but had to sit out last season to get his academics in order.

His production has caught the eye of NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah.

Earlier this season, one NFL scout compared Booker to Houston Texans star Arian Foster.

Booker has had three games with at least 32 carries and five with at least 24, and he likely again will carry a heavy load Saturday when the Utes (6-3) play at Stanford (5-4). The Cardinal lead the Pac-12 in rush defense at 110.2 yards per game, and has held four teams to fewer than 100 yards on the ground.

Booker (known as Devontae Butler in high school) originally signed with Washington State in February 2010 after rushing for 2,884 yards and 45 touchdowns as a senior at Sacramento (Calif.) Union, but he had academic issues and never enrolled. He signed with Fresno State in February 2011, but academics again tripped him up, sending him to American River College in Sacramento, where he played two seasons. Booker has one season of eligibility left, but because he is the age of most fifth-year seniors, a decision on whether he will turn pro will be closely watched.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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