Aliquippa (PA) high wideout Jonathan Baldwin knows exactly what he is looking for in a college program. Moreover, he knows exactly what he wants in a coach.
“I want a coach that is going to push me and not slack off,” he said. “I need them to push me to be the best I can be. Also, I am looking to go to a big time program … a program that throws the ball a lot. The colleges that I am looking at put their guys in positions to be successful and have a track record of getting their guys in the N.F.L.”
Baldwin’s list of schools definitely fit that billing. It consists of a veritable who’s who of college football with programs like Michigan, USC, Alabama, Pitt, Florida and Notre Dame all making the cut. All of those schools are recruiting him very hard but Baldwin indicated that, “Michigan is coming at me the hardest.”
The point man for the Maize & Blue’s recruiting effort is coach Scot Loeffler. He and the Michigan staff made it a point to let the talented youngster know just how much he is coveted in Ann Arbor.
“Coach Loeffler talks to me about the offense and things like that,” Baldwin said. “I have also talked with head coach Lloyd Carr. He wants me to come up this summer to get a feel for the campus just to see things up there.”
A schedule consisting of summer football visits is a lot more feasible now that Baldwin has made a very tough and important decision. Also an accomplished basketball player, the versatile youngster decided to hang up his gym shoes and concentrate on the gridiron. It came down to him finally realizing just how good he can be in football.
“I came to my senses,” he admitted. “I can do a lot of things on the football field. There are not many 6-6, 225 pound guys on the field that can do what I can.”
Baldwin did not say that in an arrogant or cocky way. It is just the reality of his situation. He finally started to understand that his potential was greater in football than basketball. Now that he is focusing solely on catching the pigskin, he is working hard to hone his game. When asked what athlete has influenced the way he plays the most, the young man chose a very worthy player to emulate.
“Ever since the 7th or 8th grade I have always watched Larry Fitzgerald play the game of football,” said Baldwin. “We play the game the same way. Larry does whatever it takes to catch that ball, no matter what. If there is a safety coming, we are going to take the hit and hold on to the ball. That is who I try and play like.”
As far as decision timetable goes, don’t expect an early choice. The people whose opinions he values most have advised him to not make a hasty decision.
“My parents and high school coach don’t want me to make a decision too fast,” Baldwin said. “They don’t want me to regret the decision. They want me to make sure I’m choosing the best place for me.”