Editor’s Note: this is the second in a series of stories on incoming football recruits for both the Montana and Montana State football programs that will run throughout January and February at Skyline Sports.
A local legend helped Xavier Harris and Aaron Fontes navigate the path from Oxnard, California to the University of Montana.
And the explosive skill position duo are about to embark on a dream come true playing alongside one another in Missoula for Bobby Hauck’s Grizzlies.
Harris, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound slashing running back with pass catching skills, and Fontes, a 6-foot-2, 172-pound wide receiver with big-play potential, started playing football together in elementary school. From the Oxnard Warriors to Oxnard High, the pair has always dreamed of playing alongside of each other in college.
And growing up in Oxnard, they were surrounded by an abundance of talented football playing idols. The Dallas Cowboys hold their training camp in Oxnard. The youth of the community sometimes attend practices and travel the facilities. And Oxnard has produced dozens of elite athletes — former Olympian Marion Jones and former U.S. Open golf champion Corey Pavin top the list — including Lorenzo Booker, one of the most decorated prep athletes in the town’s history.
Booker attended St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura, California, where he rose to become one of the top football and track recruits in the United States. He was widely regarded as the top running back prospect in the country, earning high school All-American honors and a designation as a five-star recruit during his senior year in 2001.
He set the California state record with 137 touchdowns in his career and St. Bonaventure went 42-0 his three years as a starter. That combined with his track and field exploits earned him the Gatorade High School Heisman as the top high school athlete in the nation.
Booker ended up going to Florida State, where he split time in a talented backfield. The eventual third-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft had limited success with the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears before retiring following the 2012 season.
Booker’s career may have not lived up to his prodigious talent. But he has given back to his community consistently since retirement. He is a family friend of Harris’s and Booker has had a significant influence on the future of Montana’s two newest skill players from his hometown.
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