Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
Central High senior defensive tackle Eric Crume is a gentle giant off the football field, but none of his competitors are stronger or fiercer in the trenches.
Contrast the big lineman with Renaissance High golfer Evette Booker. The diminutive freshman plays a game in which tranquility is the norm and where individual performance, rather than a team, is the measure of success.
Because both scholar-athletes are among the best at what they do, Crume and Booker have earned the honor as the Detroit Public School League’s Proud Strong Learners of the Week.
“It’s very, very exciting,” Booker said. “I never thought I would do this my freshman year.”
Booker had much the same reaction after shooting a nine-hole score of 46 to win the PSL girls’ golf championship last month.
“The competition was intense and I was kind of scared because most of the girls were in 12th and 11th grade,” she said. “After about the third or fourth hole, and after getting to know each other but still being competitive, I wasn’t as tense any more.
“When they told me I won, I didn’t know they gave out individual trophies but I was very excited. I didn’t even know this was possible.”
Booker has been a “Tigress Wood-like” golfer since taking up the sport at age 3. She tagged along with her parents, who were taking a golf class, and caught the bug immediately.
“When I was 3, I wasn’t very good at it, but I had fun,” she said. “Golf is a very calming game and you don’t need other players to enjoy it. I wish more African-American children and all children played golf because it’s so much fun and it’s a game you can play forever.”
During the offseason months, Booker keeps her game sharp by hitting a couple of buckets of balls at dome facilities and practicing putts on the rug at home. Her favorite school subject is biology, she’s a member of the Junior ROTC and she plans to go to college and become a physical therapist. Most of all, she wants to be a professional golfer.
“One of my goals in life is to be on the tour,” she said. “I don’t have to be No. 1, but I just want to have that fun of playing golf with the best. I just have to keep progressing with my game.”
Crume is already preparing to move on to the next level, having recently verbally committed to play collegiately at Syracuse. But, first, the Trailblazers’ 6-2, 320-pound standout lineman wants to finish his prep career by playing on a state championship team.
“We’re still on that journey,” Crume said, eyeing this Friday’s MHSAA Regional Finals between Central and PSL rival Crockett at Osborn High School. The winner advances to the Division 4 state semifinals.
“We’ve won the PSL division and city titles, which were goals of mine, but the big thing is the state,” Crume said. “It would uplift the whole Central High community if we win this championship.”
Crume entered this season recognized as one of the PSL’s top linemen and senior players. No one was better this summer at the Joe Cullen Big Man Camp in which Crume earned “The Rock” as the No. 1 lineman.
After winning the PSL B Division city title, the 9-2 Trailblazers stand just two victories from the state finals at Ford Field largely because of Crume’s blocking on offense and tackling on defense. In three playoff games, he’s recorded seven sacks and nineteen tackles and routinely has cleared a path for Central’s running backs to average 300 yards-plus a game.
“The fun for me is helping my running backs succeed, helping my linebackers by putting them in position to make plays and also making plays for myself,” Crume said. “It’s not a glamorous job, but you can still make an impact on the game because the game is won up front.”
The PSLer of the Week award is evidence of Crume’s impact as a lineman.
“It’s a prestigious honor,” he said. “It’s representing all the lineman in Detroit’s PSL, and it’s representing my team. I see this as more of a team award. And we deserve it because we’ve been working hard.’
Crume can breathe a bit easier knowing that his college future is set.
“Other schools stayed on the sidelines, but Syracuse was in game all the way,” he said. “They gave me a chance to get a scholarship and show my talents while other schools were telling me to wait. But I don’t have time to wait.
“I expect my brain to last a lot longer than my knees and my legs, so a college education is very important to me.”