Jerome Baker plans to return to Florida for an official visit. (Photo by Student Sports)

Florida hasn’t signed a prospect from Ohio in more than a decade, but that could change this year with Jerome Baker.

The Cleveland (Ohio) Benedictine linebacker visited UF this past weekend and enjoyed his three-day trip to Gainesville.

“Overall, it was an amazing visit,”  he said. “It was just fun, man. Everything there. I had a great time.”

Things went so well that Baker, a consensus top-100 prospect, now has the Gators in his Top 3 along with Ohio State and Tennessee. His determine factors are academics, atmosphere and tradition.

“Florida definitely has what I’m looking for in a school,” Baker said. “They covered everything very well. I was really impressed. I loved it, I honestly did.”

The highlight of his trip was watching film of UF’s defense with coordinator D.J. Durkin, his primary recruiter and an Ohio native.

“I have a great relationship with him,” Baker said. “He’s very honest and up front, and so is the whole coaching staff. They told me if Florida isn’t the place for me, don’t come here. But if decide to, they just stressed to me that I have an opportunity to play early if I’m willing to compete and take hard coaching.”

The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder holds 17 offers and is scheduled to visit Michigan and Michigan State next. He plans to make a decision after his senior season is over and some official visits are taken, one of which will be to Florida.

UF hasn’t signed a recruit from the state of Ohio since running back DeShawn Wynn in 2002.

“Distance doesn’t matter,” Baker said. “I’m going to pick the school that fits me, wherever that may be.”