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Friday, May 10, 2013
5 Questions: 2015 ATH Jerome Baker

By Josh Moyer

Every week, NittanyNation will pose five questions to a recruit, player, alum or coach about all things Penn State.

This week's subject is 2015 prospect Jerome Baker, a linebacker/tailback out of Cleveland (Ohio) Benedictine who already holds nine offers, including one from Penn State. The Nittany Lions are recruiting him as a linebacker, and he was last on campus for the Blue-White Game.

NittanyNation: I'm assuming you grew up an Ohio State fan since you lived in Ohio, right? So, tell me, what do you know about Penn State?

Jerome Baker: Actually, I grew up an Ohio State fan until the seventh grade. Then I visited Penn State. And, ever since then, I was a Penn State fan. So, actually, I'm a fan of the Nittany Lions.

A teammate, his brother was getting recruited by Penn State. So I was still new to the team and he invited me, and that's when Joe Paterno was there. So I went there and it was amazing. I had been to Ohio State but, when I went to Penn State, I just really liked it. At the time, I loved Penn State. I was still new to the process and I fell in love with. Now I got kind of a different view, but I am still really big on it.

NN: Did you have a favorite PSU player or anything like that? Did you stop liking the Buckeyes?

JB: I didn't have a favorite player, but I watched Penn State. And I'm still an Ohio State fan. Honestly, though, I do think I have more Penn State stuff than Ohio State stuff in my closet. I really do like Penn State.

When Ohio State played Penn State, I was kind of leaning toward Penn State. I'm a big Penn State fan. ... I could see myself playing there. It produces so many linebackers, and being recruited by Penn State is an honor. I really like the coaches there. They're very laid-back, and it seems like they know what they're doing. I did attend the spring game and, just for that, the support they had is amazing.

NN: What would you say to people who say you're a lock for Ohio State since you're an Ohio guy?

JB: I'm not just going to choose Ohio State because I'm in Ohio. I really want to see what the best fit is for me and, if that's not the best fit, I won't go there. But I do want to keep all my options open -- and I do mean all my options. I don't care what college it is. If it fits me, it fits me. So Ohio State is not a definite lock.

NN: What is that "fit" you're looking for? What kind of questions do you ask the coaches that are coming in?

JB: First, my parents always told me academics. So that's big on my list. I want to study computer engineering, and I do also want to find out about the school's tradition -- like the history of the school. Has it been a special program?

Basically, the few questions I do ask are about tradition, academics and the atmosphere. If I go the university and the whole time I'm there I feel like I'm part of a family, that's a good thing. If I don't feel like I'm part of the program, I'm not going to go there.

NN: You're still a long ways from college. Why do you think so many teams have stepped up with offers already, and do most schools want you at linebacker?

JB: I'm well-rounded. Honestly, I can run with the fastest running backs or I can bang with the biggest linemen. I'm not afraid to do either one; I can pretty much do anything. If you ask me to do something, I'll do my research and I'll do my best. And, most likely, I'll do good at it. I won't lie to you -- I can do anything. Drop back in coverage or stop the run. So I got speed for a linebacker and, as a running back, I got the power.

Most people are recruiting me at linebacker, but I guess you could say I'm an athlete. Most teams that do say they want me at running back, they want me to wait and see how my body develops. They don't want me to gain or lose weight; they just want me to see how I grow. So most teams do like me at linebacker. But if my body grows, however that grows, that's where I'm going to play.