Baker entering the NFL Draft
A day after defensive tackle Jerel Worthy entered the NFL Draft, junior running back Edwin Baker has decided to do the same.
According to The Associated Press, Baker told Mark Dantonio today he will declare himself eligible for the draft. There were rumors Baker might have played his last game in a Michigan State uniform after the Outback Bowl win, but most took that to mean he would transfer elsewhere.
He told The Associated Press his reason for leaving was he felt he was ready and in part because he wants to avoid getting injured in his senior season.
“Thank you for all the support spartan nation will all ways love y’all,” Baker tweeted Friday night.
I am going to go out on a limb here and say this is because Le’Veon Bell slowly became the clear-cut starter through the season.
The writing was on the wall for Baker and he reacted accordingly.
Bell started cutting into Baker’s carries, and would only do more of the same next season, so without the carries, Baker wouldn’t be able to improve his draft stock.
Really, to transfer makes a lot more sense as he still had a redshirt year available so could transfer then have one year of eligibility remaining. This would have given him a good chance to the be the feature back in a system and get the carries to prove himself more before entering the NFL Draft.
Baker set goals of 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns prior to this season, but Bell emerged in big ways and Baker didn’t see the ball enough to even approach those numbers.
He was an All-Big Ten running back as a sophomore when he ran for 1,201 yards and 13 touchdowns, but his rushing yards (665) and touchdowns (five) dropped substantially in his junior season.
According to LSJ’s Joe Rexrode, Baker’s decision was not impacted by his one-year-old son Edwin Jr.
The Detroit Free Press reported that Mark Dantonio tried to convince Baker to stay, but he decided he was ready to leave.
Baker will be missed in the Michigan games, as he put up 314 yards on 48 carries in the past two years with two touchdowns.
What it means moving forward is Le’Veon Bell becomes the unquestioned starter next season at running back, and Larry Caper will be his backup. Sophomore Nick Hill will start to get some carries, too, which will be good for a talented young player.
His fellow backfield mates posted messages for Baker on their respective twitters.
“Shout out to Edwin baker for entering the draft. Good luck bro,” Hill tweeted.
More from Rexrode is available here.