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Penn State's recruiting class of 2005 just got bigger — in terms of numbers and sheer size. According to analyst Bob Lichtenfels, Connecticut defensive tackle Chris Baker, a 6-foot-3, 295-pounder, committed to the Nittany Lions Tuesday night.

Baker, from Windsor High, picked Penn State over Wisconsin. He visited Happy Valley Jan. 14-16 and was in Madison last weekend. He was also considering Syracuse and Connecticut. Baker spent an extra day at Wisconsin when his travel plans were interrupted by a snow storm.

“After my Wisconsin trip, I felt I was going to choose them,” he explained. “I had an extra day out there. But I think I let my emotions get to me. Once I came home and sorted everything out, it became clearer that Penn State was the best choice for me.”

Wisconsin defensive line coach John Palermo visited Baker’s home Tuesday afternoon. PSU assistants Brian Norwood and Larry Johnson were there Tuesday evening.

“I committed to Penn State during the in-home visit,” he said.

“I spoke to my parents and thought about it,” Baker added. “I searched my heart and Penn State felt right. ... Wisconsin has been successful for a certain number of years, but Penn State has been great for a long time and they have tradition. I think they are getting a great class and we should contend again.”

Despite playing only two seasons of organized football, Baker won first-team All-State honors from the Hartford Courant as a senior. He caught Penn State’s eye at the school’s camp last summer. The Nittany Lions offered a scholarship about a month ago, once they learned he had met NCAA freshman eligibility standards.

Baker brings terrific pure athletic ability to the table.

"For a kid his size, he has great athleticism. He can run a 4.9 40-yard dash and dunk a basketball at 295 pounds," Windsor coach Mark Welch said.


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