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- Position: Running back
- Class: Junior
- Height: 5′9″
- Weight 210 pounds
- Hometown: Highland Park, Mich.
- High School: Oak Park
- Major: Interdisciplinary studies in social science—human capital and society
2010 Stat Line:
- 207 carries for 1201 yards (5.8 yards per carry)
- 13 rushing touchdowns
- 3 receptions for 22 yards
2010 Grade: A+. His freshman year he only appeared in a total of eight games and only had one rushing touchdown. “The Rock” certainly turned it around as he became the feature back in a three-back system in 2010. Not only did he become the primary ball carrier for the Spartans but he gained national recognition as one of the best up-and-coming backs in the country, earning himself a spot on the All-Big Ten first-team roster. Baker’s dramatic rise was not predicted by too many people, but his dominance on the field in 2010 certainly earned him an A+.
Strength: Baker’s smaller height allows him to have fantastic balance. He is a bulkier back but has fantastic speed for his size. His great balance and low center of gravity combined with great vision enable him to string together cutback moves and jukes to make defenders miss all while being able to outrun them in the open field. He was also dubbed a “Workout Warrior” by ESPN bloggers for his dedication and work ethic in the weight room.
Weaknesses: Unfortunately his hands are not so stellar. It shows in his limited number of receptions in the backfield. For the most part, the screens tend to go to Larry Caper who shows softer hands. His mediocre hands are also exposed when he tries to pass block. This is not his forte either, but for pass blocks you tend to see LeVeon Bell in the game.
NFL Player He Most Resembles: Frank Gore
Dream Season: Baker has set his own goals for the upcoming season: 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns. Man, if Baker can reach that, that would be an unbelievably successful year for him. Those goals would likely get him in the talks for the Heisman and he would no doubt be an All-American. I wouldn’t say that if he didn’t reach that it would be a disappointment, but those are some lofty goals.
Nightmare Season: I really cannot imagine any way Baker can regress from a season ago. A nightmare season for him would likely involve a poor offensive line not being able to open up holes for him to run through. And if that happens it would become increasingly likely that the coaching staff uses Bell, a power back who may be able to drill through the line.
What We Think Will Happen: While 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns is starry-eyed and very admirable, we don’t think that will happen. I could however see 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns. I think most would be very satisfied if Baker could reach both of those marks.