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Booty’s wish does come true

Times Staff Writers

More than a week before the NFL draft, USC quarterback John David Booty ignored convention and said on a national television broadcast that he hoped to be selected by the Minnesota Vikings.

The admission was a bold break from potential draftees’ usual statements about not caring whether a particular team selected them.

On Sunday, Booty got his wish when the Vikings traded up in the fifth round to choose the quarterback who led the Trojans to two consecutive Pacific 10 Conference titles and Rose Bowl victories.

Booty, the sixth quarterback chosen in the draft, would have preferred to be selected higher than the 137th overall pick, but the result suited him fine because he joins a Vikings team that is without a truly established starting quarterback.

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Tarvaris Jackson played in 12 games last season, his second in the NFL.

And though Booty deferred to Jackson during a conference call with Minnesota reporters, it is clear that he senses opportunity.

“I just continued to fall and fall, and I actually fell right where I wanted to be,” Booty said.

Trojans linebacker Thomas Williams also was selected in the fifth round, by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Two rounds later, the Jaguars took Trojans running back Chauncey Washington. The three USC players selected Sunday gave the Trojans 10 draftees, including four first-round picks.

The Pittsburgh Steelers made defensive lineman Bruce Davis the first UCLA player drafted when they selected him in the third round with the intention of turning him into an outside linebacker.

Davis, whose father Bruce Sr. played for the Oakland Raiders and Houston Oilers, said he is eager to make the move.

The New England Patriots chose Bruins kick returner Matthew Slater in the fifth round, and the Washington Redskins took safety Chris Horton in the seventh.

A year ago, Slater was pondering his future, considering entering the ministry. But Slater, the son of former Rams tackle Jackie Slater, averaged 29.0 yards per kick return in 2007, returning three for touchdowns, and was named first-team All-Pacific 10.

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“This goes a long way to show that a guy can be overlooked, written off as a special teams guy, and still get a chance,” Slater said.

Of those not drafted, receiver Brandon Breazell has agreed to a two-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, safety Dennis Keyes has an agreement with Arizona and cornerback Trey Brown has signed with Chicago, UCLA officials announced.

Also, tailback Chris Markey has been invited to Chicago’s mini-camp, and defensive tackle Kevin Brown has been invited to Seattle’s mini-camp.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

chris.foster@latimes.com


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