Cleveland (Ohio) Benedictine athlete Jerome Baker is the top-ranked prospect in the Midwest's 2015 class, and fittingly he has been the focus of several coaching staffs during the winter recruiting period.
"Today, actually, Pittsburgh, Indiana and Michigan came by," Baker reported. "I would probably say Ohio State, Michigan, Tennessee, Illinois [are showing the most love]. It was Penn State, but with all the changes it has gone a little dark. That's understandable."
After their in-school visit on Tuesday, Pitt became offer No. 17 for Baker that evening.
The other 16 schools that have offered Baker range from Florida to Arkansas, but mostly consist of Big Ten schools. Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison was the assistant in-school with Baker on Tuesday, and the four-star already feels a close connection with the Michigan program.
"As soon as I saw Coach Mattison, it was like that friendship, that bond," Baker said. "It's always love from Michigan and I really appreciate that.
"I was trying to get up there for the Ohio State-Michigan game [in November], but a little miscommunication happened. [Mattison] said he was going to get the [junior day] dates to me, so I will probably have the dates this week or next week."
Junior day visits are expected to be an important part of the next phase of Baker's recruitment as he starts to determine which schools are his top contenders.
"I was just looking at that tonight with my dad. We were discussing junior days," Baker said. "This off-season I am going to narrow down my list just to have a normal list and look at what schools really interest me. That's the goal."
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Baker is the No. 1 ranked athlete prospect in the class of 2015. He has Division I abilities at both running back and linebacker, and is being recruited for both positions.
"It depends on the team," he said. "Michigan, they see me at linebacker and when [the defensive coordinator] came in today he said he's going to have to let the other coaches know I am a linebacker, not a running back. Ohio State, they want me at running back, but they would love me at linebacker [too].
"I think after my senior year I am really going to decide which one I really want to play, because I'm not going to play both ways."
Only after Baker decides which position he will pursue in college will he make his final college selection, and he expects that to come after his senior season as well.