Here are highlights of my talk Saturday with the father of defensive end/tight end Ryan Baker of Indianapolis, Ind., Bishop Chatard.
Has Michigan offered Ryan a scholarship?
"Michigan has offered Ryan. And we are very, very receptive to that."
"Coach Carr gave Ryan an audience in his office and offered him a scholarship. It was April 10. Ryan and I came up and watched a spring practice. We brought along Ryan's head coach, who is friends with Coach Andy Moeller. It went extremely well. We all went in and met with Coach Carr and, I believe, with Andy Moeller as well."
Does Ryan have a top five?
"Ryan hasn't made decision about that. But he has very sincere interest in Michigan. In fact, Michigan was close to getting a commitment in the spring. When we were close to a commitment his coach, who is like a second father to him, left Bishop Chatard for a bigger school. We were stunned. It was a tremendous shock. So that set recruiting back for Ryan."
"So Ryan is looking at all options. He has not grown up with family ties anywhere. It's not like he always wanted to go to Michigan. He just respects and therefore is very, very interested in Michigan. But, Ryan is a pretty popular guy. Ryan goes to a Catholic school, so Notre Dame is a school of interest. In fact Ryan is on a recruiting trip there today (Saturday). They have expressed their interest. If/when they offer him, they will be higher up for him."
Who else has offered him a scholarship?
"Stanford, Boston College, Florida, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Purdue, Indiana, Northwestern ... he has the ability to go anywhere in country."
Will Ryan make a summer decision?
"He has considered it, he likes the idea of doing it, so he can focus on the school year. If a couple more schools that he's interested in offer him, then he'll have a full choice ... Notre Dame, and a couple others."
What about Nike Camps and summer camps?
"We decided not to go to a Nike camp. The Michigan Nike was originally on our schedule, but once we found out the rules, that we weren't going to be able to interact with coaches, we decided not to go."
"I'm working on summer camps right now, that's why I didn't go with Ryan to Notre Dame. He'll take one-day camp trips. We have to put a schedule together that takes into account his commitments for other sports (note: more on that later). But I can't imagine not going to Michigan's camp for a day. There are several other camps that overlap with Michigan's, so scheduling is complicated."
"Ryan is also a basketball player. In fact, along with Bishop Chatard winning the state championship in their division in football for the past two years, they also won the state title in basketball last year. And Ryan's AAU basketball has won five state titles, and has finished fourth, third and second the last three years in the AAU nationals. And in the summer Ryan works with our school's basketball camp for kids."
"Ryan HAS talked basketball with some of the schools that visited during the spring. Some schools say here is no problem with him doing both: Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Stanford, TCU, UNC, Virginia Tech, Dayton (and more)."
How would you describe Ryan as a player?
"He'll be four-year two-way starter, as a tight end and defensive end. He really loves defense, but he also loves offense. If he HAD to pick, he'd probably say D-end. But if the right school says tight end, that's okay too. At Michigan, Andy (Moeller) is the O-line coach. The tight end coach is Terry Malone, D-line is Sheridan. Moeller is his area recruiter, and Sheridan is making strong contact. As they start to work their magic, we'll just have to see. Ryan is now up to the 235 lb. mark ... they are starting to say that once he gets to 265-285 he can be very effective as a defensive end, offensive tackle, tight end, or defensive tackle."
What are Ryan's true height, weight, stats., etc.
"We have not done any measurements lately. In January he was 6-6, 235 lbs., and he had a bench press of 270 lbs. and a squat of 435. His last 40 was around 4.9; more importantly, coaches say Ryan has excellent 'football speed' and 'a real motor'. "
"As a tight end last year he had 13 receptions for 251 yards, 19.31 yards per carry, with the longest 31 yards. As a defensive end he had 42 solo tackles and 26 assisted tackles (for 68 total). He also had seventeen tackles for loss and nine sacks. He recovered four fumbles, one for a score -- he and a teammate creamed a punter, he grabbed the ball and ran with it back for a touchdown. Our special teams have been fabulous."
"In 2001 Bishop Chatard was State Champ, and Ryan (as a sophomore) was named Junior All-Atate, and AP All-State. In 2002 they were State Champs again, and Ryan was also named state lineman of the year. He was named team captain last year, and will be co-captain again next year."
Can you talk about Ryan as a person?
"His former coach said of him: 'Ryan is an outstanding Division I prospect. He has great size and athleticism, quickness, and leverage. He's also been our hardest worker, and a fantastic leader. What really separates him is his attitude and make-up: he's enthusiastic, selfless, and a great competitor. He's also respectful, polite, and a hard working student."
"Ryan just took the SAT. His GPA is 3.5."
"... very, very interested in Michigan."
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