Baker still high on Heels

While Toney Baker is now hesitant to name an outright leader in the ever more ardent recruiting battle featuring North Carolina, N.C. State, and Virginia Tech – the Tar Heels are still in an enviable position.

"They're in great shape, I still really like Carolina. I'm just not going to name a leader at this point. I really like Carolina, though," Baker said Monday night.

Baker, who leads North Carolina with 1,736 rushing yards, has also accumulated 21 touchdowns and is averaging over ten yards per carry. Widely considered the best prospect in the state in the class of 2005, his recruitment is being followed with an intensity that even he has taken note of.

"It's getting crazy, when I look on the internet and see how people respond to how I play and what I say," Baker said. "It is really crazy. When it comes to decision time, half of them are going to hate me and half are going to love me."

The Baker family has demonstrated an affinity for taking unofficial visits, and this weekend was no exception. Saturday's game against Arizona State was the third time this season Baker has seen the Heels in person.

"It was awesome. I had a great time again, and my parents did too. We had a really great time, and I got to meet some others looking at Carolina as well."

One of those Baker had the opportunity to spend some time with was fellow 2005 recruit Jonathan Crompton, a highly prized quarterback out of Tuscola (Waynesville) High School.

"I met him at the game, it was the first time we had met. He likes it a lot and I think he'll sign -- I mean commit. He's looking for a lot of the same things I am in a school; he's not trying to go somewhere in Florida and sit," Baker said.

With the Carolina program and fan base struggling through a 1-6 start to the season, Baker said he isn't concerned about any possible fallout, such as changes to the coaching staff.

"I'm not really worried about the offensive coordinator, I haven't spoken much with him, but I really do like Coach [Andre] Powell, and my dad really likes him," he said. "I really like Coach Bunting too, but I understand it is a business and I'll work with that."

While fans, and recruiting pundits, often attempt to predict the actions of recruits based upon a team's depth at their position, Baker doesn't concern himself with where other players decide to go to college. In fact, he didn't even know who George Bell was and isn't closely following any other running backs in the high school ranks.

"I'm not worried about someone else taking carries from me or anything like that. I'm just going to work hard on my game and go where I think is best for me," said Baker.

While the prospect of a marquee duo of Crompton and Baker rightly has UNC fans excited about the 2005 recruiting class, it is still early in the process. Patience will be a commodity in great demand as this recruiting drama unfolds.


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