Just a week ago, Budda Baker locked in official visit dates with USC and UCLA for late January and was tentatively set to trip to Washington the last weekend prior to Signing Day. Those plans have now been scrapped and the top player in the NW will play his college ball for Oregon.
“First and foremost, I want to thank God for the opportunities he has given me,” Baker tweeted. “I want to thank all of the fans who have supported me for my high school career and I’m glad to say I’m officially committed to the Oregon Ducks.
“I have been believing this for a while but I was taught to not speak until my heart and God tells me too. This was the best choice for me and my family and most of all, it was my choice. Too all kids reading this, never worry about what think of you and your decisions, always go with your heart and my heart took me to the Ducks.”
Baker is one of the most dynamics athletes in the entire country. He’s capable of playing multiple positions in college, on both sides of the ball but will play offense for Oregon. The Ducks were the one school among his finalists that recruited him on the offensive side of the ball.
“Oregon is going to use him in a similar way that they used DeAnthony Thomas,” Scout.com national analyst and long time Bellevue observer Brandon Huffman said. “Budda is easily among the five best players I’ve ever seen come out of the state of Washington. In fact, he may be the best all around prospect to come out of the Northwest in the last decade.
“When you consider he played with Myles Jack for two years, that’s a pretty big statement. His versatility in the secondary, playmaking ability on offense and game breaking play on special teams makes him a natural fit at Oregon. Oregon loves the multi-purpose athlete so he should fit in really well there.”
Baker showed at The Opening over the summer what an explosive athlete he is. He started off playing in the secondary but made a huge impact at receiver, a position he has rarely played at in the past. For Bellevue, running back was his primary spot but he was among the top pass catchers in the event and wowed some of the national onlookers seeing him in action for the first time.
Losing the top player in the state is a big blow to new Washington head coach Chris Petersen. There was talk that Baker was leaning to the Huskies prior to former Coach Steve Sarkisian leaving to take over at USC. He had built up a strong relationship with then Husky DB coach Keith Heyward, who left with Sark to USC.
UCLA was another strong option and Baker took an unofficial visit to Westwood just two weeks ago. There was some buzz that the Bruins had a chance to pull in the top player in the NW for the second year in a row after landing Jack last season but the Ducks were able to seal the deal and land the explosive playmaker in a huge coup for the program.