Last Thursday evening, I got my first look at Cleveland Benedictine's Jerome Baker. Some consider him the top football recruit in the Ohio Class of 2015. Some consider him in the top ten. For me, I would say a top ten, and a definite top ten 2015 athlete playing football.
First met him at my combine in Medina, when he was just a freshman. He put up really good numbers and was very talented in our one on ones. I told him at the time that had excellent potential and to keep focused and not get caught in all of the "recruiting noise" that he would get from recruiting reporters. Thursday night he told me that he remembered. I hope that it holds true.
Last year, I saw Jerome play against Cleveland NDCL on a Saturday afternoon. Really athletic and ran well. Only a sophomore, but I wanted more. Needed to be more aggressive at times. Liked his closing speed, Just wanted him to play better.
Thursday night, he did more of that. His closing speed on the QB or a back is really good. He bends and runs thru the ball carrier. Really like his last three steps. Plays LB on defensive. Likes to cover sideline to sideline. Listed at 6'1-205. More of an OLB, as opposed to a true "mike.". Good hips, but needs to get better change of direction. Like his burst.
Jerome wants to be a ball carrier. In fact, that is what position he worked on at the OSU camp. Did not get to see him much at RB. Not enough to evaluate. For Benedictine, most of the time he was in the slot. Simply can play a lot of positions. Too early to comment on RB skills. I will let Jerome work on those skills.
A top ten in the Ohio 2015 Class? For sure. Natural abilities make him such. Competitive nature makes him such. Two years to find his best position. Could see him being an OLB or SS type. Weigh about 230. Run down hill really well. Explosive finisher as a tackler. Better hip rotation. Athleticism to get "through junk," to make tackles. Most of all, Jerome Baker should represent any college football program well both on and off the field.