Sam Webb: Things have obviously been going really well for you with offers and college coaches stopping by. I hear Michigan made it by as well.
Jerome Baker: “Michigan did stop by. They’ve told me they’re going to offer me. They want me to come and visit and that’s when they’re going to go on with the process.”
Sam Webb: So what position are they recruiting you for?
Jerome Baker: “Most likely for linebacker, that's most likely what they're going to do.”
Sam Webb: Give me an idea of how last season went for you.
Jerome Baker: “It went great. I made first-team all-conference for my conference. I made honorable mention for All Ohio. It was a great season even though my team, it was disappointing. Even though we didn't do so well, individually I did great. It was a very good season.”
Sam Webb: Ok, so talk about your game a little bit. Give me a scouting report on Jerome Baker
Jerome Baker: “I'm about 6’1, 205-lbs so I know I'm still going to grow, and if I grow big and get to 225-lbs or 230-lbs or anything like that, I'm probably going to play inside. If I stay at 225-lbs, 215-lbs or something like that, I will play outside, but in my defense, in the defense I'm playing in now, I've played basically more outside linebacker. So it doesn't matter which way I play, inside or outside, I just like to be physical and if you think you’re faster, than I can show you that too, because I do have speed so I can catch you.”
Sam Webb: These offers that have come for you pretty fast recently. Did they catch you by surprise or were you expecting them to come your way?
Jerome Baker: “It caught me by surprise because I always used to walk in and ask my mom ‘Did I get any offers. Did I get anything?’ And she always used to say no. Then just one day, one ordinary day, my coach said to me Ohio State is here. They couldn't talk to me that much but my coach ended up telling me that they did offer me and that was my first offer was from Ohio State and that took me by surprise 100%.”
Sam Webb: I know that you grew up an Ohio State fan. When the Buckeyes offered you were you tempted to just go ahead and commit?
Jerome Baker: “Oh, nah, I know the process. I know I’m still young and just growing up an Ohio State fan was just because my family did. I’m in Ohio, so obviously I’m always going to lean towards Ohio State, loving them. I never get too (carried away) leaning towards any school. Actually, Ohio State up until like 7th grade, was my favorite team and then I started liking Penn State, so I mean, I’d say I don’t know exactly which school is going to be my favorite and all.”
Sam Webb: If you grow up most of your life as an Ohio State fan, then you become a Penn State fan, does a natural dislike for Michigan develop?
Jerome Baker: “I never disliked Michigan. I was an Ohio State fan, but I wasn’t into that big rivalry, you know, ‘I hate Michigan’. I look at Michigan, I see how good the school is and how good their program is. I never really had a dislike for Michigan, I always was interested in Michigan.”
Sam Webb: Getting back to your plan to get up to Michigan, you said you’re going to visit in a couple weeks. Have you been to Michigan before or will that be your first time?
Jerome Baker: “It’s going to be my first time. I’ve never been to Michigan. This is going to be my first time.”
Sam Webb: Now did they talk to you about camp yet, coming up for camp?
Jerome Baker: “Yes, I will be attending Michigan camp. The dates, I don’t have them right now, but I will be attending Ohio State and Penn State, those are the definite three I’m going to be attending.”
Sam Webb: Let's fast-forward in your recruiting process and pretend for a minute that you're getting ready to make a decision. What are going to be the big factors in that choice when you get ready to make it?
Jerome Baker: “As of right now, it's definitely academics first. My parents always stress that academics come first and try to pick a good school. Then, I'm real big on tradition, that's the main thing. Tradition to me is just, it's great. Even the high school I go to now is – there's tradition. So the whole tradition and the atmosphere, just the whole feel. If I go into Michigan have a great feel about it and it feels like home, then Michigan. If I go to Ohio State it feels like home, then it's Ohio State. I mean I just don't know yet but those are the big main reasons, the atmosphere, the tradition and academics definitely.”
Sam Webb: So what about timeline? Are you going to be waiting until your senior season to make a decision?
Jerome Baker: “My parents and my coaches always stress to just to enjoy every minute of it, as much as you can, so I most likely going to wait until my senior year to make a decision, but you never know obviously, but I am going to enjoy every minute of it because it's very exciting.”
Sam Webb: Okay so at this very early stage of your recruitment do you have any early favorites?
Jerome Baker: “Not really, I'm just excited about everything honestly. I still have all that excitement that I got offered and all the work that I've been putting in has paid off. I’m just excited. I don’t know how I’m feeling honestly, I’m just enjoying it.”