May 30, 2009

Florida linebacker likes what he sees

Not only is Orange Park (Fla.) linebacker Demetre Baker one of the state of Florida's best-kept secrets, he's one of the most versatile as well.

Georgia coaches have certainly taken notice.

The Bulldogs recently gave the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder his seventh big-time offer, one Baker was particularly thrilled to receive.

"Georgia is a good program. I'm hoping they'll have a good set of leaders up. I'm looking for positive people to be around," Baker said. "There should be some motivators there that are thirsty to go out there and win, but at the same time, be man enough to accept a loss. I want to see a program that learns and reacts the same to a loss as they do a win; it should motivate them to get better for the next game."

Baker will get his first up-close look at the Bulldog program when he comes to Athens in June for Mark Richt's annual summer camp. After that, Baker said he plans on traveling over to South Carolina before leaving for Michigan State.

"My plan is to visit as many camps as I can, so I can see the type of athletes they and how the coaches work with them.

Orange Park assistant coach Danny Green said the Bulldogs have definitely peaked Baker's interest.

"He has not been outside the state of Florida but only one time in his life but I think he is pretty open to the recruiting process, and is just looking for the best fit for him. Wherever he goes and feels comfortable, that is where I think he will go," Green said. "He just wants to go somewhere where he can compete against the best in the country, and he definitely feels like Georgia is that kind of place."

Coaches certainly like what they see from Baker, who ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash, a 4.31-second shuttle, a 7.44-second three-cone shuttle and had a staggering 40.5-inch vertical leap at the Under Armour Combine.

But it's on the field where Baker's talents truly shine. On offense, Baker rushed for 700 yards and scored 15 touchdowns while collecting 80 tackles on defense. Included among his tackles were 17 for a loss, four forced fumbles and four sacks.

An all-around athlete, Baker recently won the state shot put title for his classification with a winning throw of 56-11 and was runner-up in the discus for the second straight year with a toss of 173-3.

"He is a great force coming off the edge for us on defense, and we feel he is also a great open field tackler as well," Green said. "He is a very explosive athlete, most schools like him at either Will linebacker or safety right now, until he gets to about 215-220-pounds. After that, I'm sure they'll try and move him down in the box."

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