Green Cove Springs (Fla.) Clay HS
No. 9 C in South Region | Three stars
Committed on July 26, 2014
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 290 pounds
Recruitment: The talented run blocker gave serious consideration to UCF, Wake Forest, Purdue, West Virginia, California and Oregon State before announcing his commitment to Duke during the last week of July. In all he had more than 20 FBS offers.
Baker told us a Skype conversation between himself, his grandparents and Duke head football coach David Cutcliffe, who was out-of-town when Baker was on-campus, was one of the keys that led to his commitment.
"Phenomenal academics, phenomenal athletics and phenomenal coaches," answered Baker when asked about his decision to commit to the Blue Devils early.
"Coach Cutcliffe was just an amazing guy. He was actually out-of-town and me and my grandparents Skyped with him for about twenty minutes. He was a great guy. I connected with him very well," Baker said.
Early Impact: Baker has been told he will redshirt this season just as every lineman - on either side of the ball - is at Duke. During that year he’ll figure out if he’s going to end up at center or guard, though he was projected as a center on the big board in 2015.
Scout Take: Baker was one of the top offensive linemen on the Duke recruiting board in the class and will likely appear on the two-deep as a redshirt freshman and could push into the first line of said depth chart by his third year (redshirt sophomore).
As with most young linemen, he needs to add additional weight and strength, but his game begins with run blocking. Baker excels at opening holes in the defense and was often found at the second level of the defense, looking to finish blocks. Baker is also noted for having and playing with quite a relentless mean streak inside. Over his first year or two the coaches will work to develop him in the passing game.
Meet the NEW Devils: Zach Baker
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