Nebraska still looking for more Running Backs

While Nebraska would seem to he heavy on running backs now, things change, stuff happens, and suddenly you are looking for anyone that can contribute. In order to make yourself as prepared for that as you can be, you go out and look for more running backs. Nebraska has, and one of those running backs hails from the sunshine state. With the offer in hand, though, just how much interested does Eric Baker have in the Huskers?

From his days in Pop Warner, Edward H. White high school standout Eric Baker probably thought he would one day be playing safety at the Division 1-A level.

Well, there's nothing like running for 1,700 yards, scoring 15 touchdowns and averaging 8.2 yards per carry to change one's mind. That was his junior year and in his senior year he's looking for more. But he's certainly warmed to the position.

"I have kind of a defensive player's mentality, but running back just feels more natural to me right now," Baker said. "I've played it a lot lately and I have gotten used to it. So, for college, I think that's what I'll be playing."

Baker doesn't have to worry about having people agree with him on the position, because the statistics say enough themselves. At 6 foot, 1 inch and 200 pounds, Eric also has the size. What that equals right now are offers from schools like Georgia Tech, Illinois, Louisville, Indiana, Kentucky and Nebraska.

Husker fans might see this position and think instantly that they don't need a running back. Marlon Lucky, Cody Glenn and Leon Jackson, are all going to be just sophomores this next season. Add to that incoming junior college transfer Kenny Wilson, the cupboard looks to be stocked to the rim.

As the linebacker position proved last year, though, things change in a hurry. Nebraska lost one of their starting linebackers in game one. Then they lost another starting linebacker in game five. Then yet another in the final game before the Alamo Bowl. That was a not-so-subtle reminder that just when you think things are going good, they can go bad.

But what about Baker himself? With the possibility of being offered by Florida out there, along with the hope of being offered by his childhood favorite Florida State, just what chance do the Huskers have to lure the kid out of the south?

Baker responded to that, saying that regardless of who offers him, he'll go with the school that fits him best. "It's about more than what you see on TV and I grew up a Florida State fan," he said. "But there's more that goes into my decision than just following the team."

"There has to be the opportunity for me to contribute early, coaches I get along with and I have to be comfortable with the school."

Because of the contact from coaches, which is limited nowadays to e-mails, text messages and the various phone calls, when allowed, Baker hasn't gotten to know as much about each of the coaches as he would like.

Of his recruiter from Nebraska (running back coach Randy Jordan), Baker had this to say: "He's just one of those down-to-earth guys," Baker said. "He doesn't tell you a lot of what you want to hear. He just talks like a normal guy."

That's one thing Baker is looking for, wanting that connection with a coach, which is more than a player and coach. It's about someone that is as personable as they are professional and competent in what they do.

All of that makes this process something Baker realizes is going to take a very long time to figure out. "My decision is going to come late, probably well after the season," he said. "I have to look at the schools, take some visits if I can and get it all figured out."

One of those visits will be to South Carolina, as Baker attends a 3-day camp at the home of the Gamecocks. Then it's back to Florida, where he'll participate in a one-day camp in Gainesville. After that, it's hard to say as Baker isn't really sure, but he knows that little-by-little, he'll find out whatever he needs to know.

"It just takes time, and I don't have a problem with that," Eric said. "There's a lot that is going to go into my decision."

Right now Baker said that he doesn't have any favorites, but admitted that if the big three from within the state, that would make the chances of him leaving the state pretty slim. Not totally out of the realm of possible, but he is, after all, a native of the state. "No, I wouldn't say that would rule everyone out," Baker said of other schools out of state having a shot if all of the major Florida schools offered him. "It would be great, that's for sure, but I'd still have to see that they meet everything I want."

"If they do, then I would probably stay in-state. But if they don't, I don't have a problem going anywhere, where I think fits me the best."

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