If he wanted it, Dicaprio Bootle had another year of eligibility.
He doesn’t need it. The fifth-year senior cornerback is heading to the NFL Draft.
ALL PRAISE TO THE MOST HIGH!
— Star Cap 💫 † (@DicaprioBootle) December 30, 2020
“Looking back, coming to Nebraska was the best decision I have ever made,” Bootle wrote on Twitter. “I am so blessed to have been part of both a great tradition and brotherhood. I’m overly thankful for the opportunity given to me. Nebraska will forever hold a special place in my heart.”
A Miami, Florida, native, Bootle redshirted his first year on campus in 2016. As a redshirt freshman, Bootle played in all 12 games in 2017, the last for the head coach who recruited him—Mike Riley. He was a versatile contributor that season, appearing on special teams as well as at both corner and safety.
In 2018, Bootle broke out as one of the Big Ten’s premier cornerbacks. He started all 12 games and posted a career-high 39 tackles. Along with the first forced fumble of his career, he broke up 15 passes, the second-highest total in school history and the most by a Husker since Fabian Washington also had 15 breakups in 2004. Bootle’s 15 led the Big Ten and ranked ninth nationally, while his average of 1.3 passes defended per game ranked 16th nationally. His play earned him placement on the All-Big Ten Third Team, becoming the first Husker cornerback to be honored by the conference since 2015.
The following year, Bootle was actively avoided by opposing offensive coordinators. Quarterbacks went away from Bootle’s side of the field, and his partner at corner, Lamar Jackson, enjoyed the best season of his career as a result of the increased attention. Still, Bootle finished the year with 31 tackles, six pass breakups and one forced fumble. Injuries around him forced Bootle to move back and forth between corner and safety.
This season, Bootle stretched his streak of consecutive starts to 32. He totaled 25 tackles, a half tackle for loss, five pass breakups, and the first interception of his career. He was named an honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection by the media. His 26 career pass breakups rank ninth in all-time in program history.
“I love each and every last one of those guys,” Bootle said of teammates after Senior Day against Minnesota. “I love just about everybody else that came through this building since I’ve been here that has come and gone. And you know that was just kind of thinking of all my memories here. Just being in Memorial Stadium. All the good times. The hard times. There was just a whole lot going through my head, but, you know, more love than anything else. Just feeling the love and just knowing that there was just a lot of love around me between players, coaches, faculty, staff, everybody.”
Bootle will now look to join former teammates like Lamar Jackson and Chris Jones in the NFL. The Draft is set for April 29 through May 1. He’s the third senior so far to announce their intention to forgo the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA to move on to the next stage in their playing careers, joining left tackle Brenden Jaimes and tight end Jack Stoll.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.