July 10th, 2014 09:30pm

Baker excited to make decision


Jerome Baker visited UF in April. (Photo by Student Sports)

U.S. Army All-American Jerome Baker is ready to reveal his college choice to the recruiting world.

The consensus top-100 linebacker from Cleveland (Ohio) Benedictine announces his decision Friday at 10 a.m. ET at his high school.

“I think it’s going to be a pretty big moment,” Baker said. “This is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make regarding football. So it’s definitely going to be tough, but I know where I want to go.

“I’m just excited to finally get it off my chest. It’s going to be a huge relief. I’m happy to make this decision, and I’m ready.”

The 6-foot-1, 206-pounder has three finalists he’s choosing from.

Florida: “I really just connected with the players, and I have a close relationship with coach D.J. Durkin. Visiting there was a great experience.”

Ohio State: “That’s like my hometown team, and it’s a big thing to have the chance to go there and stay in my state.”

Tennessee: “It was so much love. The coaches, the players, the fans, the people. I just felt wanted there. It’s a good school and it was cool to see it.”

What’s the determining factor in his decision?

“Where I’m most comfortable is the biggest thing,” Baker said. “I’m going to spend the next four years of my life there, so I have to feel at home.”

His 247Sports Crystal Ball currently favors the Buckeyes, but The Sun made the first UF prediction and will stick with that pick.

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  1. July 10th, 2014 9:42 pm

    I asked you about this pick not to long ago. I hope your right. When is the Mailbag coming back?

    by Tn Gator

  2. July 10th, 2014 9:45 pm

    The mailbag returns in August.

    by Zach Abolverdi

  3. July 10th, 2014 10:26 pm

    Gee he somehow thinks UT is a good school??? I live in Tennessee and it is only a fair school by academic standards. It is in a fairly large city and the campus is constrained and not that attractive. I bet OSU as he is from Ohio and many dream of playing there, if not UF should be his choice if both academics and football are the issues.

    by VulcanAlex

  4. July 11th, 2014 2:15 am

    needs to hit the weight room

    by Jason

  5. July 11th, 2014 6:18 am

    Considering the fact that we didn’t sign a single linebacker in the 2014 recruiting cycle, I hope Defensive Coordinator as well as being the linebacker positional Coach D.J. Durkin, I’m sure that the great possibility of looking at our depth chart I just hope that the great possibility of early playing time will factor into Mr. Baker’s decision. I’m sure that Coach Durkin was hammering that into this kid’s head throughout his recruitment. Good Luck & Go Gators!!!!!!!

    by Kaleb Wolfe

  6. July 11th, 2014 6:24 am

    Looking forward to Zach’s Mailbag to return in August, I find it to be the most informative as well as entertaining part of this entire site to read. Thank’s Zach for doing such a standout and Professional job.

    by Kaleb Wolfe

  7. July 11th, 2014 7:12 am

    I can’t believe Florida and Ohio St. haven’t drawn up a home and home series, talk about a great game and story line, Urban returns to the Swamp that he helped redesign. When will Florida ever go out of state and play a worthy non-conference opponent, hasn’t happened since the 90s when they lost to Syracuse.

    by Kevin Patrick

  8. July 11th, 2014 7:24 am

    I’m solid Orange and Blue, but it makes me sick that we can’t get our act together and schedule a H&H against a top 10 opponent. If the pups can schedule Clemson and Irish, why can’t we do the same thing?

    by GatorZip74

  9. July 11th, 2014 7:41 am

    Nice that the Gators are in the running, but hard to imagine we will get him away from Ohio State. In seems that in most cases the home team wins out.

    As far as a H&H against a top 10 opponent, I think that is the role that Florida State fills. If they ever get a full blown playoff system, I think that will help the scheduling. Right now teams are balancing the schedule with profit and a chance to play for a national championship in mind. Right now you want a good schedule, but not too tough. A couple losses and usually you will be out of the championship picture.

    by Gator863

  10. July 11th, 2014 8:42 am

    H & H with Ohio State will never happen. And I personally do not want to see Urban Meyer having chest pains in THE SWAMP ever again. Yes, he won two NC, but I can’t stand the man for what he did to the program after that. Keep letting Florida A&M go up there to pad his record.

    by Tampa Gator

  11. July 11th, 2014 8:44 am

    And…..I prefer the two LBs from Georgia in this class.

    by Tampa Gator

  12. July 11th, 2014 9:07 am

    Kids like Tennessee because their commitment to facilities is off the chart. Their practice area is a Taj Majah (sp). Florida better get off their wallet and put an indoor facility in place or they are going to be left behind. I’m just sayin.

    by James Fisher

  13. July 11th, 2014 9:27 am

    This kid is buckeye all the way.

    by Zu

  14. July 11th, 2014 10:26 am


    by GatorZip74

  15. July 11th, 2014 10:29 am

    Glad to see Baker choose Florida. He appears to be a very versatile athlete that can play all over the field … if the Gators land some other LBs he could easily step into other roles if needed. Love the attitude. Will it stick?

    by Bamagator

  16. July 11th, 2014 10:33 am

    GATOR !!!

    by Gator Drew

  17. July 11th, 2014 10:56 am

    Now the real recruitment of Baker begins. Get ready for Urban and his band of thieves to do “whatever it takes” to turn this guy back to POSU. Baker sounds like a levelheaded kid that will stick but who knows what will happen once POSU goes after him and his family.

    by Mark T.

  18. July 11th, 2014 11:06 am

    Great P/U for us. He still need to get Holland if we can.

    by GatorZip74

  19. July 11th, 2014 11:07 am

    I meant to say we not he, sorry too much Hefeweizen on a Friday in Stuttgart.

    by GatorZip74

  20. July 11th, 2014 11:21 am

    I know we need a LB or 2 in this class but is there any reason he shouldn’t be coming to us as a RB…He looks better than anyone that is currently on our RB board for 2015 at that position.

    by Gator Drew

  21. July 11th, 2014 11:31 am

    Reminds me a bit of AJ Jones- highly rated by very undersized. He needs to put on a lot of weight before he will see the field( probably special teams first)

    by Dan

  22. July 11th, 2014 12:24 pm

    Not saying we need to play an Ohio St. every year, and we do get Michigan in 2017, but damn, we haven’t played a decent non-conference team outside the state of Florida since the early 90s, just saying it would be nice to get out once every 5 years and play someone early on the road. Alabama does it, so does Oklahoma, FSU, Penn St., etc… Could even be at a neutral site like Atlanta or Dallas.

    by Kevin Patrick

  23. July 11th, 2014 12:42 pm

    Kevin, I think that’s the model you’re going to see. Unfortunately, not all will be out of state, as it sounds like we might play Miami at a neutral site at least once. I, too, would trade a neutral site Miami game for a neutral site game against a good team from another region of the country.

    by jeff

  24. July 11th, 2014 7:55 pm

    Zach you tweeted that you think we get 2 more commits in July. McCloud and Brown? Or who?

    by That_UAT_Guy

  25. July 12th, 2014 9:15 am

    Anyone know what our target number looks like for this class ?

    by Gator Drew

  26. July 12th, 2014 12:13 pm

    Offensive highlights are awesome, pursuers look like they’re in slow-motion.

    by MariettaGator

  27. July 12th, 2014 12:18 pm

    To Jeff,

    Playing Miami in SunLife Stadium IS a neutral site. Canes fans don’t even turn out in NC seasons.

    by MariettaGator

  28. July 12th, 2014 8:00 pm

    I’d be careful what you say about Miami, they have OWNED the Gators on the gridiron. I think Florida should alternate playing FSU one year, Miami the next. Allow FSU an opportunity to play other SEC teams, Florida has a huge series lead against the Noles, 34-22-2, we destroy them 70% of the time.

    by Kevin Patrick

  29. July 12th, 2014 9:23 pm

    Marietta overall they don’t get the same level of fan support in Miami- that is true- there has always been many theories why- most of the pro teams don’t get much support either- lots of things to do in the area- today I hung out on south beach- when I lived in gainesville it was go to the gator games or do nothing. Even with less than a full house the canes always seem to intimidate the gators and their fans. Last year’s lost was inexcusable and was a sure sign it wasn’t going to be a good year.

    by Dan

  30. July 15th, 2014 12:51 pm

    You’re forgetting that Miami piled up wins when they PAID players to come there. Let’s take a look at the record without all the years that Shapiro roamed south Florida with his fat wallet.

    by Craig

  31. July 15th, 2014 5:09 pm

    Picking anyone of them isn’t a bad pick imo. It’s uop in the air, except that Durkin having such a good relationship with him might give UF just the slightest of edges. Lets keep our fingers crossed.

    by Gator Todd

  32. July 19th, 2014 8:07 am

    Just stating the facts/record, in the last 30 years, Miami is 8-2 against the Gators. I despise Alabama too, but they have owned us, kinda hard to talk trash about teams who kick your butt on a consistent basis. That’s one thing I hate about FSU fans, Florida has a 34-22-2 record against them, but FSU fans still want to argue they have the better program/team every year.

    by Kevin Patrick

  33. July 20th, 2014 9:47 pm

    KevinP, UF beats FSU 58.6% of the time (58-22-2), not 70% as you claimed. ;~))

    UF should play the other 13 SEC teams wiithout an SEC-C game for a straight up SEC-C, and then on to a Bowl or a Playoff spot against an OoC team.

    The 5 Big Conference’s should split off. The lower tier D1′s should have their own D1-b NC playoff. Get rid of the majority of patsy games with D1-a teams. That would currently have 62 teams in each division of D1.

    by da-muddler

  34. July 20th, 2014 10:25 pm

    KevinP In the last 33 years: (timing, when you play them)
    During the 80′s was the scUM’s heyday, and UF’s probation years.
    L 1980 8-4 UF 7 – 31 scUM 9-3
    L 1981 7-5 UF 20 – 21 scUM 9-2
    W 1982 8-4 UF 17 – 14 scUM 7-4
    W 1983 9-2-1 UF 28 – 3 scUM 11-1
    L 1984 9-1-1 UF 20 – 32 scUM 8-5
    W 1985 9-1-1 UF 35 – 23 scUM 10-2
    L 1986 6-5 UF 15 – 23 scUM 11-1 (mNC runner up)
    L 1987 6-6 UF 4 – 31 scUM 12-0 mNC
    1980 to 1987 – UF 3-5 scUM
    From 1988 to 1999, UF’s heyday, DNP.
    L 2000 10-3 UF 20 – 37 11-1 scUM Sugar Bowl
    2001 DNP
    L 2002 8-5 UF 16 – 41 scUM 12-1 (NC runner up)
    L 2003 8-5 UF 33 – 38 scUM 11-2
    L 2004 7-5 UF 10 – 27 scUM 9-3 Peach, Zook fired, DC coached.
    2005-07 DNP
    W 2008 13-1 UF 26 – 3 scUM 7-6
    2009-12 DNP
    L 2013 4-8 UF 16 – 21 scUM 9-4

    They only played 14 times in the last 33 years — UF 4 – 10 scUM
    UF had a worse W/L record in 9 of 10 seasons where they lost to the scUM.
    Once the scUM were the NC’s, and twice the NC runner up.
    In the 4 seasons where UF was NC or runnerup, they didn’t play the scUM.
    The timing of those 11 games was tilted strongly to the scUM.

    by da-muddler

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