Four-star athlete prospect Budda Baker of Bellevue High School (Wash.) has committed to play college football at Oregon in 2014.
Baker tweeted the decision on Friday:
I AM OFFICIALLY COMMITTED TO... pic.twitter.com/JYReedT483— budda baker (@buddabaker32) December 20, 2013
A standout for the Wolverines at both running back and defensive back, there is no questioning Baker's playmaking ability on either side of the ball. He is also sensational as a returner, which will help his team in all three dimensions of the game.
Baker has simply added to the legacy of the powerhouse that is Bellevue football. The team has won the past five state championships and 10 of 12 overall (h/t ESPN, subscription required), and that tradition has remained intact with Baker leading the charge.
At 5'10" and 175 pounds, there is still time for Baker to fill out as his senior year of high school progresses. According to 247Sports.com's composite rankings, he is the No. 6 athlete recruit in the nation and the 50th-ranked prospect overall.
The fact that he was called up to the varsity team as a freshman is a testament to the talent Baker has. Natural football instincts are strong with this rising senior, and his field vision and understanding of schematics set him apart from some of his other raw, versatile classmates at this stage.
He has voiced a preference for playing defense, but with his incredible athleticism, lateral quickness, agility and speed, he will be able to thrive no matter where Oregon puts him on the field.
The following highlights reflect all those skills:
Despite his modest stature and weight, a solid technique allows Baker to be a force in run support. He has shown the ability to diagnose plays against the run and the pass, which should allow him to catch on early at the next level.
Those anticipatory skills translate well to the offensive side of the ball, too. As a ball-carrier, Baker's vision is very apparent, as he is able to pick his spots and explode through the hole, reaching the second level quickly.
That lack of fear in absorbing contact allows him to have deceptive power as well.
To put it simply, Baker is a home-run threat whenever the ball is in his hands, and opposing players have to have their head on a swivel when he's roaming the defensive backfield.
He is a proven winner, undaunted by the massive expectations for a Wolverines team that finished No. 1 in the nation, according to rankings compiled by ESPN and Sports Illustrated (h/t Seattle Times).
This tantalizing package of skills and intangibles should only heighten the excitement as Baker progresses through his final season at Bellevue in search of yet another WIAA State Championship.