A little more than six hours before college football’s National Signing Day, Huskies coach Chris Petersen unofficially secured the No. 1 recruit in the state of Washington.
Budda Baker, a 5-foot-10, 177-pound defensive back from Bellevue High School, appeared on King5 TV Tuesday night and announced his commitment to UW. Ranked four out of five stars by most recruiting services, and the No. 5 safety in the country by Scout.com, Baker said staying close to family was a major reason he chose the Huskies.
As with many prospects deciding where to attend college, Baker’s final choice wasn’t without twists: He verbally committed to the University of Oregon in December, then opened his recruitment in January. He took a pair of visits — one to Montlake, one to UCLA — before deciding. According to his Scout.com profile, he held offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, USC, Texas A&M, Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA and Notre Dame, among others.
At Bellevue, Baker starred at running back, safety and kick returner, helping lead coach Butch Goncharoff’s Wolverines to four consecutive 3A state championships. As a senior, Baker was named the state’s player of the year by the Associated Press, News Tribune and Seattle Times. It’s widely believed that Baker will line up on defense.
Oregon’s coaching staff wanted him to play offense. In late January, Baker disclosed in an interview with Josh Liebeskind of the Times that he wanted to play defense. The disagreement likely factored into his decision to spurn the Ducks.
According to Rivals.com, Baker is the 21st known verbal commitment to Petersen’s first Huskies’ recruiting class.