Budda Baker to Washington: Huskies Land 4-Star ATH Prospect

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2014

Bellevue's Budda Baker celebrates on the field after Bellevue beat Eastside Catholic, 35-3 to win the 3A division high school state championship football game, for the fifth time in a row, Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, in Tacoma, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Budda Baker is one of the most exciting and versatile players in the 2014 recruiting class, and Washington scored a major coup by securing him just before national signing day, according to Adam Jude of the of the Seattle Times:

Budda Baker is staying home.

The prized recruit from Bellevue High School committed to Washington during a live broadcast on KING 5 TV on Tuesday evening, the night before National Signing Day.

“I’m a family person. Family comes first,” Baker said, after unzipping his jacket to reveal and black Washington shirt and then slipping on a black “W” hat.

Per 247Sports, Baker is a 4-star prospect and the No. 55 overall player as well as the No. 6 athlete in the class, which made him a highly sought-after commodity. Baker did a little bit of everything at Bellevue High School in Bellevue, Wash., and it will be interesting to see how he is utilized at the next level.

Baker played running back, wide receiver and safety, and he was also a dangerous return man. After racking up more than 750 total yards from scrimmage, six interceptions and 23 total touchdowns in 2012, Baker put up monster numbers in 2013 as well, including a ridiculous 600 yards on 35 carries, which was good for over 17 yards per tote.

Baker has game-changing ability at a number of different positions, and he could potentially be one of the most dynamic players in major college football. With that in mind, it seemed like a great fit when he initially committed to Oregon. Few programs are better at getting the most out of athletes like Baker, but he announced on Jan. 17 that he decided against playing for the Ducks.

It seems as though Baker went all in on Oregon without considering the entire package. He admitted as much when asked about decommitting by Josh Liebeskind of The Seattle Times.

"It wasn't for me, I think," Baker said of Oregon. "I was just thinking about straight up football at Oregon. I wasn't really thinking about anything else. I also thought I don't think I could live in Eugene for four years."

Oregon's loss is Washington's gain, however, as Baker is the top player in the state of Washington. He has all of the accolades to prove it, including the Associated Press Washington State Player of the Year Award, according to The Seattle Times.

The fact that Baker is basically the personification of a Swiss Army knife on the field increases his chances of succeeding in major college football. Whether it is at running back or wide receiver, as a kick returner or even on defense, Baker should contribute in some way for the Huskies.

The main concern, of course, is his size. Baker is listed at just 5'9" and 174 pounds, so he'll need to use his speed and elusiveness to his advantage. Lack of size can be a drawback, but it doesn't have to be, as plenty of elite college football players have proven over the years.

Baker managed to put up eye-popping statistics in high school, but he is obviously going to find himself up against much faster and more skilled players in college, so he'll have to adjust to not always being the most dominant player on the field.

If Baker can do that, then it is entirely possible he will be one of the best prospects to come out of this class. Assuming that happens, Oregon fans are likely to lament the fact that their team came so painfully close to securing him.


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