Offensive lineman from New Haven, Connecticut,

who has enrolled at the University of Alabama,

is honored as the nation’s top African American male high school senior student-athlete


Bethesda, Md. – The National Alliance of African American Athletes on Saturday night presented the 30th annual Franklin D. Watkins Memorial Award trophy to Tyler Booker of New Haven, Connecticut. Booker recently graduated from the IMG Academy in Florida and is enrolled at the University of Alabama, where he received an athletic scholarship to play for one of the nation’s top college football programs.


“What an incredible night,” said J. Everette Pearsall, executive director of The Alliance. “It was amazing to gather with those who support our mission and honor the young men in the Watkins Class of 2022. The six members of this Watkins Class are so impressive, it was very difficult for the selection committee to choose this year’s standard bearer. Tyler Booker is an exceptional young man, excelling on the football field, in the classroom and in the community.”


At IMG Academy, Booker graduated with a 3.6 grade-point average. In addition to being a two-year captain on the football team, Booker also coached at a middle school football camp and was a guest speaker to youth football teams. He volunteered with Black Couples United, the Community Baptist Church and Dominate the Day camp. Booker also received the IMG Helpful Heart Award.


The other members of the Watkins Class of 2022 are Braden Davis, a quarterback from Middletown, Delaware, who graduated high school early and has enrolled at the University of South Carolina; Elijah Green, a baseball player from Windermere, Florida, who has signed with the University of Miami and is a top prospect in this year’s Major League Baseball amateur draft; Harold Perkins, a linebacker from Cypress, Texas, who has signed with Louisiana State University; Brenen Thompson, a wide receiver from Spearman, Texas, who has signed with the University of Texas; and Wesley Williams, a defensive end from Gainesville, Virginia, who has signed with Duke University.


This year’s Watkins Class members were selected based on their unweighted grade-point average, personal statement, extracurricular activities, community service and letters of recommendation. Sponsors of the event include Major Sponsor Under Armour, JMA Solutions, Peoples Financial Services, Dell Giving, Nash Management Group, Early Morning Software and Jostens Corporation, manufacturer of the Watkins Award trophy and rings.


Among the night’s other honorees were Ted Ginn Sr., a longtime high school football coach and founder of the Ginn Academy, received the Sharon Love Ransom Community Service Award. Darnell Dinkins, a nine-year NFL veteran and member of the Watkins Class of 1995, was the Keynote Speaker.


FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact Josh Barr at 202-309-5021 or



The National Alliance of African American Athletes was founded in 1989 and its mission is to empower African American males through athletics, education and public programs. Since 1992, The Alliance has annually presented the Watkins Award to the nation’s elite high school student-athlete. The award is named for the late Franklin D. Watkins, who coached championship football and basketball teams in Harrisburg, Pa. Past winners include Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle, as well as several others who went on to play in the NFL.