Inked: Four-Star Linebacker Jerome Baker, from Cleveland, Ohio, is Officially a Buckeye

By Jeremy Birmingham on February 4, 2015 at 8:33 am

The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their Buckeye careers today as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent. Signing Day is here.

Eleven Warriors would like to officially welcome Jerome Baker to the Ohio State football program.

The Baker File

  • Class 2015
  • Position LB
  • Size 6-2/203
  • School Benedictine (Cleveland, OH)
  • Composite ★★★★
  • Rank 4 (OLB)

There was no doubt that Baker, Ohio's top-ranked (or second-ranked, depending on who you ask) player would be a Buckeye. He grew up in Cleveland loving the Buckeyes as long as he could remember. The Buckeyes identified him early in the process as a must-have player in their 2015 class and made him a priority at every step. In fact, they were the first school to offer Baker.

"Ohio State was my first offer, so it really shocked me. I didn't believe it, honestly," he continued. "It felt amazing. All the hard work you put in and the team you grew up rooting for offers you. It was just amazing, honestly. It felt like all of the hard work was paying off."

The Buckeyes formed, developed and maintained close personal relationships with Baker and his family. 

The Buckeyes did everything right with Jerome Baker and there was no doubt that he was going to be a Buckeye. Until he wasn't. Baker shocked the recruiting world when, on July 11th in front of a subdued group of family and friends, he committed to Florida in one of the year's strangest recruiting events.

The Buckeyes did not give up the chase and as the Gators early season woes grew from troubling to borderline embarrassing, a renewed window of opportunity for Meyer and Ohio State appeared. Baker informed 11W on September 22nd that he was going to visit the Buckeyes for their game against Cincinnati and just like that, the rumor mill started cranking again: Baker was back on Buckeye commitment watch.

"I know (Baker) is wanting to take his time, to make his visits, and he should," one source shared with 11W in early October. "But eventually, everyone believes this will end up with him in Columbus and signing with the Buckeyes. Florida was a real, legitimate option but the struggles down there don't appear to be getting any better. I used to think that (Florida head coach Will) Muschamp's job being saved would keep Baker in their class, but I don't anymore."

Baker finally pulled the trigger on October 21st, deciding he would be a Buckeye after all.

Following his decision, Baker focused on his senior season at Benedictine and was a vital part in the Bengals' state championship victory in early December. A US Army All-American, Baker's commitment helped give the Buckeyes one of the best linebacker hauls in the country, where he'll line up alongside fellow Ohioans Justin Hilliard and Nick Conner.

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