Baker visits the Blue

Chase Baker is a 6-foot-3, 265-pound OL/DL prospect from Rocklin, Calif., and Baker took an official visit to Boise State this past weekend and came away very impressed with what he saw.. but was it enough to lock him up for the Broncos?

"It was awesome, I liked it," Baker told of his trip to Boise. "I liked the town. We had a couple of hours to trip around and I walked around that whole town. I ended up back at the stadium."

The high point of the visit was the Hawaii-BSU game, one that ended up being a 41-34 shootout win for the home team. "The game was awesome," Baker said. "It was a blast. We were right there in the front row. Hawaii was good, they have a lot of team speed. I also got to see a lot of big hits too, so that was good."

Assistant Director of Football Operations Julius Brown and Pete Cavender were Chase's hosts on the visit. "They agreed that the coaching staff is awesome, it's like a big family out there," Baker said. "And academically, I met the head of the Engineering department and she told us about all the standards we have to meet to be able to get in."

And his overall thoughts on the trip? "It just felt like a huge family out there," Baker said. "The coaches are awesome. They get to know you. When I walked in the office, all the coaches knew my name even though I had never met half of them. Players kept coming up and introducing themselves too. It was pretty cool."

Since Baker was all-league and all-metro on both sides of the ball, what side are the Broncos interested in? It sounds like it could be both. "They showed me the way they rate, and I rated the same on offense and defense," he said. "The d-line coaches like me on d-line and the o-line coaches like me on o-line. I think I make a better defensive tackle, but we'll let them decide."

Why the nod for defense? "I have a decent get-off. And I'm strong too," Baker added. He claims a 286-pound bench, 540-pound squat, 340-pound power clean and a 375-pound jerk lift.

Sounds like a perfect fit, right? For Baker, it sure sounds like it, but some of that is based on some faith by the Boise State coaches that he's going to be able to get healthy again. He played a fulll junior season for Rocklin, but tore his ACL playing rugby in England in early April of this year. "I was third for rugby in the state," he said. It took less than six months to get back to the point where he was cleared to play. "The last few weeks, I would get up, do my weight workout and then run two or three miles right before school," Baker added. "And then I'd do stuff with the team and then go to my coach's house and do aquatic workouts. I was constantly going at it."

And then the worst of all worst-case scenarios happened: during practice a teammate landed on it and twisted it. "It was a fluke thing," he said.

Boise State and Sacramento State were the only two schools to offer before Baker's visit to BSU. "Cal, Washington State and Fresno all needed to see me on the field this year, which isn't going to happen," he said. Most schools don't even know that he reinjured his knee. "Now I'm out for the entire year, and most schools said they needed to see me this year before they offered."

But the Bronco coaches are looking long-term when it comes to Chase Baker. "They are cool with my knee," he said. "I've torn it twice, the second time two weeks ago. I was almost back too.

"They are trying to get me set up with a doctor in Sacramento, he's the Kings' doctor. He is a knee-specific surgeon. They are going to keep track of me through him. I gave them a verbal (commitment) and they are going to play it by ear with what the doctors say, but they think that I'll heal pretty fast."

So there you have it! The newest Bronco...maybe.

"I like my situation," Baker said. Coach (Ken) Greene from Washington State, I think he is trying to get me out there to visit, and I think I'm willing to do that. Army is pretty heavy on me too. Right now, I'm pretty firm with Boise...I like the atmosphere. I like the place."

Baker added that the BSU coaches want him to greyshirt, which means that he would delay his enrollment until the very beginning of 2008. "I think it's actually a smart move," he said. "It's up to them and how quickly I heal, but I'm cool with greyshirting."

With all the rehab he just went through and the planned rehab ahead of him, does it ever get to Baker to the point where he just might hang the cleats up? "It's not too hard," he said. "I've got coaches that are pushing me. And I'm not in a position where people can pay for it (college education), so I need to get a scholarship. I can't give up.

"I think it'll take some time, but I can get back."

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