Budda Baker might be staying home for college after all.
Almost a month after verbally committing to Oregon, the Bellevue star reneged on his previous choice, announcing his decision via Twitter on Friday to reopen his recruitment. Baker said in the tweet that the Ducks have a great program, but it was not the right fit for him.
Baker had narrowed his choices to Oregon, Washington and UCLA before committing to the Ducks on Dec. 20. He told The Seattle Times at the time that “my second choice was probably Washington.”
Multiple media outlets have reported that Baker will be the 11th player to take an official visit to Washington this weekend in what will amount to an important couple days of recruiting for the Huskies.
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Baker, a four-star recruit, is the top prospect in the Northwest and the No. 4 safety nationally, according to Scout.com. He had 59 tackles, three interceptions and three forced fumbles while mainly playing in just the first half of games due to Bellevue’s dominance. He also had four touchdowns on defense and special teams in leading the Wolverines to their sixth straight state title.
Oregon had planned to use Baker, an explosive player, on offense. Baker ran for 600 yards and 12 touchdowns on just 35 carries (17.1 yards per carry) in 2013.
He was named the Washington state player of the year by both The Seattle Times and The Associated Press, and was selected to the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which was played on Jan. 3.
At 5 feet 8 and 177 pounds, Baker is undersized for a safety, but Scout.com recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman doesn’t believe that will limit him at the college level.
“When you see smaller, undersized guys, most of those guys are known for their coverage ability; he’ll hit you,” Huffman said of Baker near the tail end of last season. “He’s kind of in the Earl Thomas mode. He doesn’t care that he’s giving three or four inches and 40, 50 pounds, he’s going to make it seem like it’s the other way around.”
Price, Parker in East-West game
Former Washington quarterback Keith Price and safety Sean Parker, trying to boost their profiles before NFL scouts, are scheduled to participate in the 89th annual East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday.
Price and Parker are part of the West roster, coached by former Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel.
The game will start at 1 p.m. and will be televised on the NFL Network.
Price set a number of UW records in three years as the starting quarterback. Notably, his 75 touchdown passes are the most in school history.
Parker, meanwhile, built a reputation at UW as a big-hitting strong safety, and finished the 2013 season with four interceptions. Both are projected as possible late-round picks in May’s NFL draft.
Seattle Times staff reporter Adam Jude contributed to this article.