Will Georgia Hold Lead over SEC, ACC Powers for Versatile 4-Star Kendall Baker?

Andrew Kulha@@AKonSportsSenior Analyst IIIMarch 29, 2013

Via 247Sports
Via 247Sports

The Georgia Bulldogs are currently in the lead for 4-star lineman Kendall Baker, and he would be a huge prospect for Mark Richt and his staff to seal the deal with.

Baker is a very versatile recruit, and he's one of the better prospects from the state of Georgia in 2014. The 247Sports Composite ranks him as the No. 23 player from the state of Georgia.

He's ranked as an offensive tackle by 247Sports but he can also play defensive line. He has the size for either side of the ball, checking in at 6'6" and 275 pounds. According to a video interview he did with Chad Simmons of Rivals.com, he prefers to play defensive line (though he can play both), and Georgia is indeed the leader for his commitment right now.

Considering the Bulldogs' inability to consistently recruit big-time prospects in-state as of late, holding on to this recruiting lead is going to be vital for Georgia.

In his interview with Simmons, Baker mentioned that Georgia is the top team right now because the Bulldogs are pitching him the opportunity to start as a true freshman and play either of the down lineman positions in the 3-4 scheme. 

His height and size will allow him to command two gaps as a 3-4 defensive end on either side of the line, and if he bulked up a bit more he could be a quicker and more agile 0-technique in Georgia's scheme. Come 2014, the Bulldogs will have a need on the d-line as far as the rotation is concerned, and at the very least Baker could put himself in position to compete for a starting gig. Most likely in my estimation, he would be the most effective at defensive end. 

It is worth noting that Auburn, Florida State, Clemson and Alabama are all behind Georgia on his interest list (247Sports) and according to Simmons' report, Baker is going to visit Ole Miss (this weekend), Auburn, Clemson and Florida State. The Seminoles were the first team to offer him, both Auburn and Ole Miss' respective defensive lines could end up being elite, and Clemson has produced some very good defensive ends—so all of those programs do have a lot to offer.

Is Georgia a lock to land Baker? At this point he still seems open and we know he will visit other schools, so it would be irresponsible to consider him a Bulldogs lock.

That said, he can stay in-state. Georgia is offering him playing time and the Bulldogs will be a national championship contender for the next few seasons. Also considering the need Georgia has to bring in highly-ranked in-state recruits, I can imagine the Bulldogs won't back down or let off on the recruiting trail.

The visits will make this interesting, but Georgia has a solid pitch and a considerable need. 

Factoring all of that in, it's tough to see Georgia losing the lead here.

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