The Young Baker

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson writes about Osceola wideout Cameron Baker (5-11, 167, 4.4). who is the brother of UA split end Chris Baker and a coveted high school football prospect that has already garnered offers from Arkansas, Georgia Tech and Arkansas State.

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When your brother has already gone through the recruiting process and is currently playing college football, it's just natural to lean on him a little bit when its your turn.

That's the situation now with Osceola wideout Cameron Baker (5-11, 167, 4.4), the younger brother of University of Arkansas split end Chris Baker.

"Watching him go through it and talking to him about it, I know just what to expect, how to handle things and make it easier," the younger Baker said. "It's a big help."

Baker already has offers from the University of Arkansas, Georgia Tech and Arkansas State and expects his recent performance at a combine in Oxford, Miss., will increase that number before too long.

Baker, who caught 27 passes for 927 yards with 18 touchdowns last season for the run-oriented Seminoles, is also now hearing from Tennessee and Kansas State among others.

"I was ranked as the third-best wide receiver at the combine and ran a 4.4 and since then I seen more interest," Baker said. "I think I opened some more eyes."

He is currently going through spring practice with his grid teammates, but will miss the final practice on Wednesday to compete in the Class AAAA state track meet.

"I am looking forward to it," Baker said. "My best time in the 100 meter dash so far this year is a 10.5, but I pulled my hamstring three weeks ago and have been taking it easy and haven't competed since then. But I'll be ready for Wednesday."

Ironically, the injury bug has been what has kept his older brother from reaching his potential while at Arkansas after spending a year at Hargrave Military Academy.

Chris Baker (6-1, 198) - who chose Arkansas over Tennessee, Ole Miss, San Jose State and Iowa - had to redshirt in 2005 due to injury, which kept him from adding to some big play numbers he compiled in his first two seasons on the UA campus.

He caught 4 passes for 57 yards as a true freshman and came back as a sophomore to catch 9 passes for 213 yards - an average of 23.7 yards per catch - and 2 touchdowns, one from Matt  Jones and a 74-yard bomb from Robert Johnson.

"He was frustrated at not getting to play last season because of his injury, but he is excited that Arkansas is going to throw the ball more and down the field this season," Cameron Baker noted. "I think he's going to be healthy and have a big year."

The commitment to a more vertical passing game certainly has peaked the interest of the younger Baker about Arkansas, a place he has been a frequent visitor on gameday in the past three years.

"There's a lot to like about Arkansas and I feel like I have a good idea of what they have to offer and what to expect if I end up there," Baker said.

Georgia Tech joins Arkansas and Kansas State in being strong in the field of study Baker plans to make his career.

"I am going to major in engineering and Georgia Tech has the number one school when it comes to that so that is a plus in its favor," Baker said. But Arkansas and Kansas State also have very strong academic programs in engineering. That part is very important to me."

He plans to go to football camps at both Arkansas and Georgia Tech this summer, but said that Osceola will not be playing 7-on-7 this summer.

"We have done so in the past, but not suppose to this summer," Baker said. "I am looking forward to going to the camps and just trying to get better and get the word out about myself."

Baker, who ran a reported 4.43 at the FCA Combine in Little Rock on April 6, says that observers this summer should find out a couple of things about him.

"I have great speed and a willingness to work hard and learn," Baker said. "I need to work more on my route running and my physicality, but I am not afraid at all to put in the time to do so."

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...Baker is one of at least 11 in-state players that have been offered scholarships by the University of Arkansas to this point.

The others include Rogers offensive lineman Lee Ziemba, Fort Smith Northside quarterback Kodi Burns and offensive lineman Paul Henry, Pulaski Academy running back Broderick Green, Monticello center Seth Oxner, Paris tight end Grant Freeman, Little Rock Catholic tight end/defensive end Jake Bequette, Central Arkansas Christian tight end David Williams, Jonesboro offensive lineman-tight end Grant Cook and Springdale wideout/tight end Zack Pianalto.

Oxner, Freeman and Bequette have already committed to the Razorbacks while Green is a soft commit to USC and Pianalto has pledged to sign with Texas.

There have been some 22 in-state prospects offered D-1 scholarships already with Nashville quarterback/cornerback A.J. Whitmore already committing to Kansas State and Fort Smith Southside Ethan Stockett verbalizing to Mississippi State.

...It is likely that a few more in-state athletes could get offers from Arkansas after either the Houston Nutt Cingular Wireless Razorback Football Camp June 13-15 or the Seniors Only Camp on July 21-22.

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