Baker Maintains 'Strong' Bond W/ U-M's Durkin

2015 Cleveland (Ohio) Benedictine 4-star LB Jerome Baker discusses his relationship with Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin and the chances the Wolverines might have to pry him away from his commitment to Urban Meyer and Ohio State.

When 2015 Cleveland (Ohio) Benedictine four-star linebacker Jerome Baker originally made a verbal commitment to Will Muschamp and the Florida Gators in July, several factors played a role in that decision.

At the time, the Gators defensive coordinator and linebackers coach was D.J. Durkin, now carrying the same roles in Ann Arbor under Jim Harbaugh at the University of Michigan.

“We have a great relationship,” Baker said of Durkin. “He’s basically just a great guy that I really just go to and talk to. We have a very good, strong relationship.”

Before Durkin’s move, Baker looks back on his decision to head to Gainesville and knows how significant that relationship was in earning a commitment.

“It was a huge factor,” Baker said. “I really wanted to play for him. I liked it at Florida and he just opened my eyes to see a lot of different things and I really appreciate the time we had with me almost being able to play for him.”

With Durkin now set to man the defense at Michigan, the chance is out there that Baker could get his wish to play for him at the next level.

The only problem for Michigan now is that Baker is currently a verbal commit to Urban Meyer and Ohio State, a decision he says was pretty easy to make at the time.

“Just being home,” Baker said. “That was a big motivation for me. Coach Meyer is a great coach and I really got to know them.

“I learned some things talking with them and building that relationship so it was just the right move for me and just a good fit.”

Right now Baker says he and Durkin have spoken over the phone; the conversation geared more toward catching up on each other’s lives than anything else.

“Not regarding Michigan,” Baker said. “We’ve talked; the last time was about what he was doing, nothing about Michigan.”

Should Durkin and Michigan choose to turn up the heat on Baker with just a few weeks remaining until national signing day, would the 6-foot-1, 205-pound linebacker be open to the overtures.

“I really don’t know,” Baker said. “I’m all Buckeye and that’s all I can really say. I don’t think it’ll make a difference for me.”

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