On Saturday, Jon Baker visited the Boston College campus and listened to a 15-minute pitch from four members of the school's football coaching staff who explained why he would be a great fit for their program.
When it was over, the Millis High junior gave his brief response.
"I'm in," he told them.
With that, the Eagles staff members erupted. They had a verbal commitment from their ideal offensive lineman, a dominating 6-foot-3, 300-pound athlete from Massachusetts with a 4.0 grade point average.
"I think BC has their poster child to be honest with you," said Millis-Hopedale coach Dale Olmsted, who traveled to the Chestnut Hill campus with Baker and his parents on Saturday.
"A kid from Massachusetts with that kind of athleticism and those types of grades, any program would be happy to have him."
Baker had been offered scholarships by University of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rutgers, Michigan State, Old Dominion and Temple. Both Harvard and Yale, which don't offer athletic scholarships, pursued him. And other Division 1 programs -- Stanford, UCLA, Wisconsin, Duke and Vanderbilt -- which had not yet officially offered a scholarship, had shown significant interest.
But in the end, according to Olmsted, Baker's discussions about potential landing spots always came back to Boston College, which offered the opportunity to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference while remaining close to home. The Eagles also have a long history of sending linemen to the NFL, which is Baker's ultimate dream.
Saturday morning Baker called Olmsted and explained that he wanted to commit. Olmsted knew Baker was hoping to make a college decision before his senior season at Millis-Hopedale, but the coach was still somewhat surprised by the timing.
"He felt that now was the right time," Olmsted said. "I think he thought 'Let's just do it. There's no sense in waiting.' "
Baker is ranked by the recruiting website Rivals.com as the country's No. 18 guard in the country among those in the class of 2014. He bench presses 400 pounds, squats 600 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash at a Boston College camp last summer in 5.1 seconds.
After leading Millis-Hopedale to a second consecutive Tri-Valley League Small title as an offensive guard and defensive tackle, he was named the league's Lineman of the Year for the second time.
"They might have to re-name that the Baker Award," Olmsted joked.
There is the possibility Baker could choose to graduate high school early, sometime after his senior season, and enroll at Boston College in the winter of 2014 to get a head start on preparations for his freshman season later that fall.
Whenever he chooses to make his way to the Heights, Baker is expected to play either guard or center, and he plans to take pre-med courses.
Baker wasn't the only good news at the Heights. Roxbury Latin tight end/linebacker Kevin Cohee also gave a verbal commitment to play football at BC. Roxbury Latin athletic director Tony Teixeira said Cohee met with head coach Steve Addazio Saturday and gave him the news.
"Kevin is very excited for the opportunity to play for his hometown Eagles," said Teixeira of Cohee, a resident of Chestnut Hill.
The 6-3, 240-pound junior also received offers from UConn and UMass-Amherst.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
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