Orange Park linebacker Baker commits to Georgia

Morris News Service

The Georgia recruiting machine is humming on the First Coast.


After landing blue-chip offensive tackle Brent Benedict out of Bolles on Monday, Georgia struck again. Orange Park outside linebacker Demetre Baker pledged his services to the Bulldogs after a visit to campus on Tuesday.

"When I went there, I had no idea where I would go," Baker said. "When I got there, everything was on point with what I was looking for in a school. It was a great experience. Everything was presented well and well-organized."

While Baker (6 feet, 205 pounds) is not considered as big a coup as Benedict, he is one of the more intriguing prospects in the state. A versatile athlete, Baker is a two-time Class 4A state champion shot putter and finished as the state runner-up in discus the last two years as well. He's also a quality running back for the Raiders, rushing for 729 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior.

"The majority of schools want him as a defender," Orange Park coach Danny Green said. "I really like him as a running back. He's very raw. Last year was the first time he had played the position. He has the upside to get a lot better. His strength is impressive, but it is his explosion that is really special."

Baker chose Georgia over South Carolina and Michigan State. He recently visited Florida but did not receive an offer from the Gators.

Defensively, Baker recorded 70 tackles last season with four sacks and four recovered fumbles. Georgia head coach Mark Richt said he hopes Baker will bring that production to future Bulldogs defenses.

"Coach Richt didn't pressure me at all," Baker said. "I don't think he expected me to commit right then. I told him I wanted to be a part of the Bulldog program. He was surprised but excited when he realized I was serious.

"All my trips are done now. All my questions are answered. I'm through with recruiting."

The Bulldogs might not be through in the area. Jackson standout cornerback Derek Owens is believed to be down to Georgia and Florida, with the Bulldogs holding a lead. He's expected to announce his decision next month.



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