Baker refuses to let injury slow him..

Chase Baker turned every athlete's nightmare into a dream come true. He also did what many experts might think was unthinkable. Baker sat out his entire senior year recooperating from knee surgery, and yet still earned a scholarship to play football at Boise State. That's a lot of faith from the Bronco staff.. and Baker is determined to show that it was well placed.

"I would have never thought it was possible to miss your whole senior season and have someone still make you an offer," said Rocklin Defensive Lineman Chase Baker, (6'3 265lbs).

Baker tore his ACL, a near death sentence for some athletes, but, determined to come back, Baker rehabbed and rejoined his team in the off season when catastrophe struck. "I probably came back out too soon," Baker said. "I closed down on a running play away from me and caught our running back. He's a competitive guy and so am I," Baker continued. "I should have just let him go, but he didn't want to go down and I didn't want him to get away, so when we finally came down he landed right on my knee and I had to go right back to square one."

At that point, many high school prospects would have been lucky to have gotten consideration from junior college coaches. Baker's dream school, Cal, did what most programs did, which is walk away from their interest in Baker. But Boise State stood firm, having offered Baker prior to the injury. The Broncos stood by their commitment, which stood out to Baker.

"I was really impressed by that," he said. "After everything, they were willing to stick with me." Baker returned that loyalty and commitment with loyalty and commitment of his own, signing with the Broncos earlier this month. While the senior, who is thought to be considered for a spot at either defensive end or defensive tackle, still has a long road ahead, it's a road he's been down before.

Nevertheless, he's gotten some good advice from a friend, former high school rival, and future Boise teammate, Ben Chandler. Chandler went through a rehab of his own and has talked with Baker about what he can expect upon arriving in Idaho.

"I think my knee is just about there," Baker said. "I've been taking it really slowly this time. I just want to give it plenty of time to be 100%."

San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore is certainly proof that there is life in football even after multiple major injuries, and like Gore, Baker is singularly determined to not let his injury slow him.

"I can't wait to get up there," Baker said. "The guys I've met are great guys, I really think it's going to be a good team and I can't wait to get out there and show them what I can do."

As for Chandler and Baker becoming teammates, there might be a hint of that old rivalry left. "He said that I caused his knee injury in our championship game two years ago, but I don't know about that. I'll have to check out the film to see how that could have happened," Baker said with a laugh.

Baker is expected to greyshirt and join the Broncos in January of 2008 with an eye toward competing for playing time in the 2009-10 season.

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