There's a late bloomer in the 2016 class from the state of Iowa and there's a lot to like. Lineman Ja'Chai Baker of Council Bluffs (Iowa) Lewis Central is 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds, and as a senior, is now just beginning to hit the recruiting scene.
Baker has only played one year of varsity football but it's been enough to attract a few FBS programs.
"A lot of schools heard about me this year, especially Iowa," Baker said. "It was my first year playing varsity. Iowa heard about me and all the other schools heard about me. They're intrigued. They like me. They don't know too much about me yet because they just started to recruit me. I'm 6-foot-8 and 260 pounds so they're like 'where did he come from, how did we miss him'. Iowa contacted my parents and they seem very interested."
Baker drove to Iowa City on Saturday to get his first look at the Hawkeye program as they hosted Minnesota for a night game in Kinnick Stadium. It was the first time the coaches were able to interact with him in person and they made sure to let him know that they were very aware of his potential.
"The visit was great," Baker commented. "I was able to talk to the coaches. They asked me to give them some patience because they're really busy from the season and winning. They want me to try to be patient and in December they will come to my school and talk to me more. Iowa State is going to come to the school to talk to me more as well. I have offers from Wyoming, Northern Iowa, and South Dakota State and they all want me to take an official visit in December. That could be a big month for me."
"The facilities were great," he added about his time on campus at Iowa. "The coaches were great. I liked everything. It seemed like family there. It seemed like the coaches take care of their players and have real relationships with them. The game atmosphere was electric and amazing. It's been a great season. It has been a big surprise for some people but talking to them, they know they produce talent and want to keep winning. It's a great place."
Baker is originally from Omaha so he did not grow up rooting for the Hawkeyes or Cyclones. He was never aligned with either and he has remained neutral, even now. He could have a choice to make between the two schools. His future position could play a role.
"Iowa State sees me as an offensive lineman," he shared. "That's what they want me to play. Iowa is either. I think they have said that I can play either and excel."