RCW: A day in the life of Jeremiah Booker

Mind. Body. Heart. Soul. The grand plan of every college coaching staff during preseason football practices is to hone each aspect of every player to build a team bonded by the experience. To accomplish that goal, long and rigorous days that touch the mind, body, heart and soul are required.  Junior wide receiver Jeremiah Booker allowed Kansas Athletics photographer Jeff Jacobsen to spend a day with him as he and his teammates ready for the start of the KU football season against Southeast Missouri State in Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 2.

5:53 a.m. – During KU football training camp, Jeremiah Booker and his teammates were housed at a hotel in Lawrence.

5:58 a.m. – Booker is an early riser and quickly prepared himself for the long day on Tuesday, August 8.

6:07 a.m. – Booker enjoyed training camp because of the routine. “I only have to concentrate on football,” he said. “When school starts, the practices are easier on my body, but there is much more to concentrate on because of school.”

6:09 a.m. – Elevators were never used during Booker’s day.

6:10 a.m. – Five school buses awaited the players for their trip to the Anderson Family Football Complex.

6:11 a.m. – Booker is the first on the bus, part of the carefully detailed schedule he keeps for himself.

6:16 a.m. – Early buses were scheduled to leave at 6:30, with mandatory buses following 20 minutes later. Booker used the time to study a personal notebook where he keeps his hand-drawn receiving routes for KU’s offense before turning his attention to his Bible.

6:45 a.m. – Players flocked to the training room to have their ankles taped. Booker prefers to have his ankles taped by head football trainer, Murphy Grant, the Associate Athletic Director – Sports Medicine.

6:46 a.m. – Every player’s weight is recorded each day to help trainers track any alarming changes..

6:51 a.m. – Booker made sure every piece of equipment was ready for practice.

6:57 a.m. – Booker loaded his plate for a hearty breakfast.

7:05 a.m. – Booker and Bobby Hartzog Jr., took their breakfast to the wide receivers’ meeting room.

7:10 a.m. – During the wide receivers’ meeting, every receiver stepped to the board to show the call signs of a play and then drew the route of each receiver for the assigned pass play, the yardage for each cut, and the checkoff route depending on defensive coverage.

7:39 a.m. – With practice fast approaching, Booker rolled the kinks out of his muscles on the indoor turf of the weight room.

7:41 a.m. – DBooker and sophomore wide receiver Chase Harrell continued their pre-practice stretching.

7:49 a.m. – Booker adjusted a new pair of adidas cleats.

8:02 a.m. – Another trip on the bus took the players to the grass practice fields south of the Anschutz Sports Pavilion.

8:13 a.m. – Out the back of the bus, Booker and other receivers headed inside Anschutz for some special drills.

8:14 a.m. – Booker caught footballs shot out of a machine at high speed.

8:16 a.m. – Tennis balls fired at even higher speeds honed Booker’s ability to eye the ball into his soft hands.

8:27 a.m. – Booker joined in a weaving display of unity to start the morning’s formal practice.

8:28 a.m. – Booker roared with joy as the team began warm-ups.

8:30 a.m. – The movement of warm-ups loosened Booker’s muscles.

8:32 a.m. – Booker greeted and encouraged defensive teammates.

8:33 a.m. – With warm-ups complete, Booker immediately began to catch passes thrown by the KU quarterbacks.

8:43 a.m. – Offensive coordinator and receivers coach Doug Meacham watched Booker make a sharp cut on a pass pattern.

8:45 a.m. – While cooler weather prevailed in early August, the humidity remained high and demanded constant hydration.

9:09 a.m. – Booker leaned back to pull in a long pass over a defender.

9:11 a.m. – During individual drills, Booker took his turn allowing a defensive back to work on his skills.

9:13 a.m. – Booker got to take his turn handing out his own punishment.

9:17 a.m. – During one-on-one drills, Booker made a diving catch along the sideline.

9:26 a.m. – Booker broke away from the line of scrimmage as he began another pass route.

9:33 a.m. – Managers smashed Booker with heavy pads during ball control drills.

9:40 a.m. – During a water break, Booker encouraged special team members as they began work on the kicking game.

9:42 a.m. – Booker squeezed the contents of an applesauce package into his mouth for a quick energy boost.

10:31 a.m. – Playing in a limited scrimmage, Booker leaped to pull in a touchdown pass during red zone drills.

10:41 a.m. – Booker led the post-practice stretching.

10:44 a.m. – Booker and his teammates huddled to close out the formal practice session.

11:04 a.m. – Booker voluntarily put in an additional 15 minutes of individual receiving work in Anschutz with only a manager’s help.

11:05 a.m. – Booker walked back into the daylight for the bus ride back to the football complex.

11:13 a.m. – During the bus ride, Booker and quarterback Carter Stanley talked about ways to improve the passing attack.

11:20 a.m. – Booker reached out for the traditional touch of the Jayhawk statue before entering the locker room.

11:30 a.m. – The weariness of the players showed in the locker room as Booker cut off his ankle tape.

12:10 p.m. – The weariness of the players showed in the locker room as Booker cut off his ankle tape.

12:17 p.m. – While eating lunch, Booker checked his phone. During the training camp, players could not post to social media.

12:33 p.m. – After lunch, players could return to the hotel to rest, but Booker opted to set an alarm and slept in a reclining media chair in the KU locker room.

2:38 p.m. – Booker soaked his ankles in the training room’s cold pool for 10 minutes. During his sophomore season in 2016, Booker suffered a nagging high ankle sprain that limited his playing time.

2:58 p.m. – Using air-inflated compression wraps on his legs, Booker continued to hydrate himself.

3:24 p.m. – During a portion of the afternoon snack break, a group of players gathered in one of the position rooms for Bible study that started with a prayer.

3:25 p.m. – Booker read passages from the book of Job and then related the meaning of the verses to his life and those of his teammates.

3:42 p.m. – Booker, Patrick and junior receiver Steven Sims Jr., relaxed before their weight workout.

4:00 p.m. – Zac Woodfin, the director of football strength and conditioning, began the session with band work.

4:05 p.m. – Booker and others stretched their hamstrings along a weight room wall.

4:09 p.m. – Assistant strength coach Tyler Hill stretched Booker’s lower back and hips.

4:14 p.m. – Woodfin instructed Booker on how to use the handle of a kettlebell to knead his calves.

4:24 p.m. – For every strength move, players did just as many flexibility moves.

4:25 p.m. – Turkish get-ups strengthened and stretched a variety of muscles.

4:36 p.m. – With every exercise, Booker concentrated on proper form along with high intensity.

4:41 p.m. – After a wide range of exercises, Booker wrapped up the workout with three sets of pullups to failure.

5:09 p.m. – A review of the morning practice video showed the wide receivers that despite many good plays, there was still room for improvement from every player.

6:11 p.m. – During a team meeting, Booker enjoyed one of the coach’s jokes.

6:42 p.m. – Booker joined in a freestyle rap battle in the locker room.

7:15 p.m. – Redshirt freshman Kameron McQueen, Booker and Hartzog shared funny stories before an offensive implementation meeting.

7:33 p.m. – The code name of a new offensive play drew laughter, smiles and bewilderment from the players.

8:02 p.m. – Booker laughed as Harrell and sophomore running back Khalil Herbert worked on a special touchdown handshake.

8:09 p.m. – Booker played the role of a defensive back during a walk through in Memorial Stadium as new plays were worked into the offense.

8:32 p.m. – Booker returned to the weight room to massage his feet.

8:34 p.m. – Alone in the weight room, Booker stretched out his muscles on the indoor turf before taking the bus back to the hotel.

9:01 p.m. – Nearly 15 hours since leaving the hotel, Booker returned to his room with the promise it wouldn’t take long to fall asleep.