A Rising Eagle

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: June 26, 2009

DURHAM, N.C. — North Carolina Central University’s highly touted transfer linebacker, Michael Baker, was named Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) “Preseason Newcomer of the Year” according to Lindy’s Football 2009 College Football Preview magazine.

The signing of Baker made waves across the nation back in February, simply because the former All-State linebacker from Cardinal Ritter High School in St. Louis, Mo, was rated as the No. 18 outside linebacker prospect in the nation by ESPN.com out of high school in 2007.

When he decided to transfer from Miami University, the school he originally signed with, many schools were after the young prospect. “Michael is a legitimate Division I football player,” NCCU head coach Mose Rison said.

“He had several Division I scholarship offers, but we had a long relationship with him and his family, so he felt most comfortable with NCCU. We are pleased to have him in our program.

“He will make a significant impact on our defense with his size, athletic ability and aggressive attitude,” Rison said.

At 6-0, 210 pounds, Baker definitely put up the numbers to deserve the praise in high school. In three seasons with the Lions, he amassed 357 tackles, including 192 solo stops, and seven interceptions, along with being named to the Missouri All-State team his junior and senior campaign.

During his senior season, the All-Metro athlete showed his versatility by also playing quarterback and running back, piling up 726 yards on the ground, while reaching paydirt eight times.

Under center, the three-time All-Conference athlete threw for 236 yards and three touchdowns. Baker also was a two-time team captain, and led Cardinal Ritter High School to a 26-17 record.

NCCU is coming off a 4-7 campaign in 2008 and return 18 starters for Rison’s third squad. The 2009 season kicks off on September 5th at 6 p.m. when the Eagles travel up Hampton, Va. to take on the Pirates of Hampton University at Armstrong Stadium.