Pros and Cons to 4-Star ATH Jerome Baker's Top Schools
Jerome Baker is a 4-star athlete from Cleveland who has many schools after him. The 6'1", 205-pounder can excel on offense as a running back, but he may have a brighter future as an outside linebacker.
Baker has many options, yet he revealed to Blake Alderman of InsideTheGators.com (subscription required) in April that several programs were high on his list.
Baker will ultimately have to decide on one school, but he'll need to weigh the pros and cons of his top suitors to make the right choice.
Penn State is perhaps the hottest team in the country on the recruiting trail right now. Head coach James Franklin has the No. 2 class in the country, says 247Sports, and he's just getting started.
Franklin has assembled an energetic coaching staff while enhancing the family atmosphere in Happy Valley. Penn State has solid young talent on the roster, and Baker could compete for early playing time.
The program has great tradition, and it is one of the flagship schools in the Big Ten.
Penn State is a good program, but it has fallen behind Ohio State and Michigan in the Big Ten pecking order. The Nittany Lions may be two great recruiting classes away from competing for a Big Ten title.
Baker plays outside linebacker at a high level, and he would be a great fit at Michigan State. The Spartans are known for their physical brand of football, and they play stout defense.
Head coach Mark Dantonio and defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi are two of the top defensive minds in the country. The Spartans have a lot of momentum due to winning the Rose Bowl last season.
Baker could find himself playing a significant role early in his career.
Although Michigan State won the Rose Bowl last year, the Spartans are still generally felt to be behind Ohio State, and perhaps Michigan. They do not sign a ton of elite recruits, nor do they receive as much attention as their rivals.
Michigan is one of the most historic programs in sports. It is full of tradition and mystique, plus the Wolverines receive national attention.
Head coach Brady Hoke has restocked the roster with a lot of young talent, and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison commands respect. If Baker were to play running back at Michigan, new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has no issues installing a run-first attack.
The facilities in Ann Arbor are solid, and the team is supported by excellent fans.
Hoke is only 15-11 over the past two seasons, per Sports-Reference.com. Big Blue may be on the verge of falling behind rival Ohio State and upstart Penn State.
Florida is one of the flagship programs in the SEC, which is the best conference in college football. The Gators traditionally field among the country's fastest and most athletic rosters each season. Playing in The Swamp is an experience for the ages.
Head coach Will Muschamp is a defensive-minded leader who will make sure Baker is developed properly as an outside linebacker. Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper is also capable of coming up with creative ways to exploit Baker's talents on offense.
Florida checks out fine in the facilities department, and it has an incredible collection of fans.
The Gators are coming off of a poor season, and Muschamp just might start to feel some warmth on his coaching seat this fall. Also, Cleveland is not too close to Gainesville.
Head coach Butch Jones signed the No. 7 class in the country in 2014, according to 247Sports. He has the Volunteers working with a lot of hope and confidence.
Tennessee is a program Baker could play early for while helping it grow into a contender in the SEC. Running through the "T" before games is special, plus the fans come in droves to every game.
Tennessee also has solid facilities and good tradition.
Jones went 5-7 in 2014, according to Sports-Reference.com. He appears to be the right man for the job, but Tennessee still may be several years away from being a serious contender for an SEC title.
The Buckeyes boast an extremely talented roster full of elite recruits, plus the program is surrounded by terrific tradition. Fans support the team with a ton of passion, and Ohio State is always on the national media's radar.
Baker would also be able to stay relatively close to home by signing with Ohio State.
Baker could find it tough to get on the field as a running back or linebacker early in his career. Ohio State has recruited well at both positions over the last several recruiting cycles.
Blake Alderman of InsideTheGators.com (subscription required) wrote on April 21, "Florida, Tennessee and Ohio State likely will get return visits this fall for official visits."