Widely considered one of the top two prospects in Ohio and unanimously ranked as one of the 100 best players in the nation for 2015, four-star linebacker Jerome Baker (Cleveland, OH) announced Friday morning that he will continue his career in Gainesville, Florida, playing college football for the Florida Gators.
Baker (6-foot-1, 206 pounds) committed to Florida over Ohio State and Tennessee, spurning his state school in the process. OSU was once considered the heavy favorite for his services.
Credit Gators defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin with building a “very strong bond” with Baker that was simply unable to be matched by his other finalists.
“Coach Durkin did a great job of selling me on what I would do in their defense and that was probably the best tool that he could use. And he showed me what I would do and what position I would be used for,” Baker told InsidetheGators.com’s Blake Alderman ($).
“He showed me how my role as Will linebacker affects the defense and that was great to see. I spent a lot of time with Coach Durkin and him being my position coach, I love talking to him about football and life and everything. He is such a great person to talk to, and I can open up with him and have a conversation about anything.”
Though Baker only visited Florida once, spending multiple days on campus in the spring, it was enough to push UF over Urban Meyer’s team in the end.
Baker is listed as the third-best athlete and No. 36 player in the nation by Rivals, which has him rated a bit higher than ESPN. In those rankings, he is the eighth-best linebacker in the country and No. 68 prospect.
Now the 10th and highest-rated member of Florida’s 2015 recruiting class, Baker is just the third unanimous four-star prospect committed to the Gators for the cycle, all three of which are from outside the state of Florida.
Should he stay committed to UF, Baker will be the program’s first scholarship enrollee out of Ohio since running back DeShawn Wynn (Cincinnati, OH) in 2002.