Are Others Testing Wright-Baker's Pledge?

Bloomington - The IU coaching staff was ecstatic to get a verbal commitment from Edward Wright-Baker in June, and now the challenge becomes making sure he doesn't waver. Rumors have circulated about others trying to see how solid Wright-Baker's pledge is, and Jeffersonville coach Steve Cooley talks about what he's heard...

Bloomington – Indiana might be close to finished with its 2009 football recruiting class, but there's still plenty of work to be done between now and February.

While 16 players have verbally committed to play for the Hoosiers beginning next fall, there's nothing other than their word to bind them to that pledge. That means IU's staff will be spending the next four and a half months making every effort to fend off any programs that might try to get any of the IU commits to reconsider.

One of the players the Hoosier staff figures to keep an especially close eye on is Jeffersonville (Ind.) quarterback Edward Wright-Baker. The first player to commit to IU back in June, rumors have circulated that programs such as Michigan might be testing the certainty of the southern Indiana standout's decision. But if that's the case, it's news to Jeffersonville Coach Steve Cooley.

"If they are, they aren't going through me," Cooley said Monday. "I'm sure he still gets mail, and I still get mail. But everyone I talk to, I tell them all that he's verballed to Indiana."

Even if coaches have been trying to get Wright-Baker to reconsider, Cooley said he's confident that he won't be swayed into changing his decision.

"I don't have any doubts he's be at IU – none at all," Cooley said. "He really likes Coach (Matt) Canada and Coach (Bill) Lynch. I think he'll be very happy there, and they'll take care of him."

The Hoosiers, meanwhile, think Wright-Baker will return the favor by taking care of them once he gets on the field. An ultra-athletic signal caller, Wright-Baker has completed 58-of-107 throws for 759 yards and three touchdowns in the season's first five games.

Jeffersonville got off to an 0-3 start, but its won its last two due in large part to Wright-Baker looking to run the ball more frequently. He's rushed for 234 yards and four touchdowns in the last two contests, going over 100 yards in each contest. He was particularly good two weeks ago in a 39-14 win over Madison H.S. when he broke the school record with 382 yards of total offense, throwing for 259 yards and running for another 123.

"I think he needs to be more selfish running the football," Cooley said. "The last two weeks we've made him run the ball with some plays we're put in, and he's getting 15 or 20 yards a crack."

Wright-Baker has skills that are very similar to current Hoosier quarterback Kellen Lewis, and many think he'll be the man under center once Lewis graduates following the 2009 season. Time will tell if that's how the quarterback position plays out, but Cooley has little doubt that Wright-Baker is a difference maker when he's on the playing field.

"He's a field-tilter," Cooley said. "When he's on your side of the field, you have a better chance to win that the team on the other side of the field."


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