Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Baker's versatility gives UGA options
By Radi Nabulsi
ATHENS, Ga. -- It is appropriate that a guy named Baker would give Georgia a dozen commitments. Those who enjoy puns could only have wished that defensive lineman Kendall Baker (Atlanta/Marist) was No. 13 for the Bulldogs, thus making the proverbial baker’s dozen. But Baker actually is more than just No. 12.
The 6-foot-5, 284 pound lineman can play both sides of the ball and his double-digit offer list proves he is coveted as both a defensive and offensive tackle. So that was the question, which spot will he play at Georgia? Right now, the answer is on defense. Baker fills the role of the versatile lineman that Mark Richt likes to recruit. Justin Anderson and freshman John Atkins are a couple of the more recent examples. Baker could play defensive end or line up at the nose in Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defense.
Aside from his versatility, Baker is a tough customer in the middle with his massive size and long arms. He recently dropped 10 pounds but with his frame he could easily top 310 pounds before he ever plays a down for Georgia. Baker fires off the ball low and fast, traits that could see offensive line coach Will Friend trying to poach Baker from the defense.
The addition of Baker means Georgia could be on the verge of a premier defensive line class. He joins Dontavius Russell as committed prospects and the nation’s No. 12 player, defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard (Fayetteville, N.C./Pine Forest), has Georgia as his leader. ESPN 300 defensive tackle Elisha Shaw also has the Bulldogs in his top three and with the commitment of his teammate, linebacker Detric Dukes, Shaw too could wind up in Athens. He mentioned playing with Baker during last year’s Rising Seniors practice.
Georgia now has eight commits from the Peach State and seven of them played together in the Rising Seniors game in December. Baker plans to try to bring in some of the other top players in the state as well. Baker is big on loyalty. He has stated numerous times that playing for his home state team was important to him. He is yet another high profile in-state commit to choose the Bulldogs and he continues Georgia’s recruiting momentum heading into the Dawg Night camp on July 12.