Four-star LB Jerome Baker commits to Florida, becomes Gators’ highest-rated 2015 pledge

By Adam Silverstein
July 11, 2014

Widely considered one of the top two prospects in Ohio and unanimously ranked as one of the 100 best players in the nation for 2015, four-star linebacker Jerome Baker (Cleveland, OH) announced Friday morning that he will continue his career in Gainesville, Florida, playing college football for the Florida Gators.

Baker (6-foot-1, 206 pounds) committed to Florida over Ohio State and Tennessee, spurning his state school in the process. OSU was once considered the heavy favorite for his services.

Credit Gators defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin with building a “very strong bond” with Baker that was simply unable to be matched by his other finalists.

“Coach Durkin did a great job of selling me on what I would do in their defense and that was probably the best tool that he could use. And he showed me what I would do and what position I would be used for,” Baker told’s Blake Alderman ($).

“He showed me how my role as Will linebacker affects the defense and that was great to see. I spent a lot of time with Coach Durkin and him being my position coach, I love talking to him about football and life and everything. He is such a great person to talk to, and I can open up with him and have a conversation about anything.”

Though Baker only visited Florida once, spending multiple days on campus in the spring, it was enough to push UF over Urban Meyer’s team in the end.

Baker is listed as the third-best athlete and No. 36 player in the nation by Rivals, which has him rated a bit higher than ESPN. In those rankings, he is the eighth-best linebacker in the country and No. 68 prospect.

Now the 10th and highest-rated member of Florida’s 2015 recruiting class, Baker is just the third unanimous four-star prospect committed to the Gators for the cycle, all three of which are from outside the state of Florida.

Should he stay committed to UF, Baker will be the program’s first scholarship enrollee out of Ohio since running back DeShawn Wynn (Cincinnati, OH) in 2002.

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  1. Fernzpat says:

    HUGE commitment. Now on to the OT position please…

    On another note, as a Tallahassee resident (spare me the remarks, great place to raise a family) the mini ticket packages are a great option. Going from 1-2 games per year to three for essentially the same price. Love it.

  2. Michael Jones says:

    Under the “credit where credit is due” department: great job, Coach Durkin! Look, Missouri proved last year (as have Boise State and other programs in other years) that good coaching can turn mediocre recruiting classes into championship contenders. We are uncharacteristically ranked only 15 in the current recruiting rankings. Hopefully we’ll be able to do a good job coaching up who we’ve recruited.

    GO GATORS!!!

  3. Gatorvet1 says:

    he looks like a pretty good RB! Sounds like a Jelani Jenkins sized LB!

  4. G2 says:

    TOP player in Ohio > How’s that taste Urban!!

  5. SW FL Joe says:

    While this is certainly great news, it isn’t really over until the fax is in. We have seen Urban close the deal on other schools “commitments” first hand. DJ and Will are going to have to hold on to this kid with both hands.

  6. J-skool says:

    Pretty amazing how Urbz never brought in a recruit from Ohio (to UF).

  7. A big fan says:

    Jerome baker the bong maker??

  8. Michael J. says:

    I doubt he makes it to Gainesville because Durkin will be gone. UF gained Thomas Holley last year because the coaches left Penn State. They left voluntarily, I think this staff will be fired. Vegas has the Gators at 7.5 wins. I’ve already taken the under because I think Driskel sucks and the defense is a shadow of the 2012 version that bailed out another horrible offense. I don’t want to lose money, I guess I could be happy the gators proved me wrong, but I’m going with my head, not my heart, and UF is a bad team right now. Even with four cupcakes, I can’t see how this team exceeds seven wins.

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