April 8, 2013

Baker staying patient

MARIETTA - Marist High's Kendall Baker has the ring picked out. Now, he's just trying to decide which girl is the prettiest before he slides the ring on her finger.

While this metaphor may sound corny, it's exactly the approach the 6-foot-5, 275-pounder when it comes to choosing which school he will sign with come February.

"I'm just trying to … almost fall in love with a school all the way," Baker said. "My top 5, obviously I'm in love with some of them, if not most of them, but I need to be hook like and sinker because I don't want to do the de-committing game."

As for those top 5, nothing much has changed.

"Georgia is still my top team as of right now," said Baker, who also includes Auburn, Florida State, Clemson and Alabama in his top five.

The talented defensive linemen said he'll be visiting Auburn on Friday, before heading to Clemson the following weekend.

Baker's most recent trip was to Georgia, where he took in the Bulldogs' G-Day game over the weekend.

"It was another great trip," said Baker, who estimates he has now been to Athens 4 or 5 times. "It was a great chance to see the coaches in action, their relationship with the players and what-not. I especially enjoyed seeing what they were like with their players on the field."

He was also impressed by what the saw from the Bulldog faithful.

A G-Day record crowd of 45,113 showed up to watch the contest, a turnout that Baker said really opened his eyes.

"When people show up for something like that, it really shows the fan base is sticking in," he said. "It was great seeing the Georgia fans come out to what is basically just a scrimmage. It was really nice to see."

Baker said he was also impressed by what he saw with Bulldog defensive line coach Chris Wilson, the coach he would be playing for should he decide to come to Athens.

"He's a real laid-back coach, but he gets a little active when he gets toward game mode," he said. "I saw his coaching side come out, and that's another benefit of going to a game like this. You get to see what he's really like. I like him a lot."

Baker feels the same about the Bulldog football program, but still insists he intends to take his time before making any official decision.

"I'm just trying to stay level-headed about everything I do," said Baker. "At any given time you could blow out a knee and your football career could be over. I'm just trying to stay grounded and take of what I need to in the classroom and then take it out on the field."