Quarterback John David Booty, a junior at Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, La., plans to skip his senior year of high school to enroll at the University of Southern California.
Booty, the younger brother of Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh Booty, needs to complete one English course in summer school to earn his diploma. He plans to enroll at USC in August.
While there are a growing number of high school football players graduating one semester early so that they can participate in spring practice and thereby gain an advantage entering the upcoming season, Booty's maneuver is thought to be a first.
"I've never heard of it," Evangel Christian Coach Dennis Dunn said. "This is new for me, too. This is uncharted waters."
Booty, 18, is considered one of the nation's top prep players. He has passed for 8,286 yards and 87 touchdowns the past two seasons, twice earning all-state honors and leading Evangel Christian to two state titles.
Until last week, Booty had planned to enroll in January. However, when his father, Johnny Booty, was fired from his job as a minister and the school's quarterbacks coach, John David Booty reassessed the situation and opted to change his course.
"His maturity level and preparation level and experience are so different than most kids," Johnny Booty said. "John David has been around so much so young, it matured him a lot. Being around for prom, and this, that and the other is not quite the same for him.
"Most kids, when they graduate, try to move on to college. He will be graduated. The uniqueness is that he is a good football player."
Booty has earned a qualifying score on the SAT and by passing the English class will meet the requirement of core coursework, two key components for freshman eligibility.
He still must be certified by the NCAA Clearinghouse, which reviews eligibility of all incoming freshmen.
USC officials, including Coach Pete Carroll, cannot comment on Booty because he is considered a recruitable student-athlete.
At a time when more high school and college players seem in a rush to get to the next level, some would prefer the rapid movement would stop.
"I'm a little bit different, a little bit old-fashioned," said DeMatha football coach Bill McGregor, who annually sends several players to college.
"I think a young man should, first off, be a kid. There is plenty of time for all that afterwards. I think he's much better going to high school for four years, then go on to college after that. Live the traditional, normal way we have done things for years. One of the problems we have is everyone wants so much so fast."