What was supposed to be a double dip visit weekend for 2015 Cleveland (Ohio) Benedictine running back/linebacker Jerome Baker, with visits scheduled to both Ohio State and Michigan, turned into a trip to Columbus for their Friday Night Lights camp and a last minute cancellation for the Wolverines’ big house barbecue Sunday afternoon.
“My coach was going to take me because my parents were out of town and he said he was going to call me to make sure everything was good,” Baker told GoBlueWolverine. “He called me and said he wasn’t going to be able to make it. So, I couldn’t make it and that’s what happened.”
Disappointed not to make it up to Ann Arbor Sunday, Baker did enjoy his time with the Buckeyes Friday.
“It was amazing,” Baker said. “Coming in I was nervous, very nervous. My coach called me down and said, ‘just go out there and have fun,’ and I did. I had a good camp, a great camp, and just had fun.”
Standing 6-foot-1, 205-pounds, Baker plays both ways for his Benedictine squad. With two years still left on the high school level, Baker still hasn’t decided which side of the ball he’ll end up on in college, and for him, he’s not exactly concerned about it.
“It’s still up in the air,” Baker said. “Most of the schools are waiting to see how I fill out. It really doesn’t matter to me, I just want to play football. If they want me at safety or linebacker or defensive line or running back, I’ll play whatever. I just want to play.”
“I’ve been working on both sides. I went to the Nike training camp in D.C. and I got more drills to work on so I went back home and did more at running back lately because I was sort of a little ahead at linebacker.”
Holding offers from Florida, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Penn State, Baker is adamant about not being type cast as a lean to the Buckeyes based on his childhood affinity, very intrigued by what their greatest rival, the Wolverines, have to offer.
“Most people think I don’t like Michigan because I’m from Ohio but I like Michigan,” Baker said. “I really wanted to get up and see how it is. The more I hear about it is just great things so I’m disappointed not to (be able to) go. I have a great relationship with coach Mattison so I really wanted to see how it was. I really like Michigan.”
Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is already making a strong impression on Baker, with a little help from his coach.
“He’s just a good guy to talk to,” Baker said. “When I first talked to him, I must admit, I really didn’t know much about him. But my coach stopped me one day and was like, ‘I don’t think you really know who he is.’ And so the more I asked questions, he’s a legend, that’s just how it is, he’s a legend. I just love talking to him, he knows his football and he’s a great guy to talk to.”
Baker is planning visits this fall, mentioning Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State as three “big ones” he will definitely take.