"I'm qualified and ready to go"

With senior running back Cory Boyd graduating and moving on to pursue his NFL dreams, that opens the door for another back to step in and help fill his void in the Gamecock offense. One player that hopes to step into that role is 4-star USC commitment Eric Baker, who has finished up at prep school and plans to enroll at South Carolina in January. Read inside for all the details.

The 6'0", 200 pound Baker originally signed with South Carolina in the 2007 recruiting class, but he did not qualify directly out of high school and had to spend the fall semester at Fork Union Military Academy, a post-graduate prep school which specializes in helping students reach the necessary test scores to qualify at the college of their choice. With the fall semester at Fork Union now finished, GamecockAnthem spoke with Baker on Wednesday night and he was happy to report that he's made the grade and will enroll at USC in January.

"Everything's finished. I'm qualified. I got the scores that I need to get into South Carolina next month," said Baker. "I'll be there on January 10th."

Baker, who rushed for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns in the prep school ranks this fall despite battling a nagging ankle injury, said he's excited about arriving in Columbia in a couple weeks and is anxious to join the team workouts.

"I'm just looking forward to getting in there and learning their program. I'm going to work out with them and get used to the routines they do up there because I plan to compete for playing time."

According to Baker, the USC coaches have told him to come in and be ready to compete.

"The coaches told me to work hard and the best players will play and contribute the most. I'm just going to get in there and work hard."

Baker was joined by fellow South Carolina commitments Antonio Allen and Akeem Auguste at Fork Union, and he said the three have built a close bond that will carry over to their playing days in Columbia.

"It was pretty good having them there. We got real close. We're close friends, and we're going to keep that going up at South Carolina. I think they both have a chance to qualify (in January) too."

The Jacksonville, FL native, who runs a 4.42 second forty yard dash, discussed what strengths he brings to the football field as a running back and said he models his game after one of the brightest young stars in the NFL.

"I have speed, quickness and agility. I'm a finesse running back. I've got real good vision, and I've got that cutback ability. I model my game after Adrian Peterson."

Baker closed by passing on an enthusiastic message to the Gamecock Nation.

"Tell them that I'm coming. I'm qualified and ready to go. I'm fired up, and I'll be there in January."

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