In the recruiting class of 2004, the state of North Carolina featured three of the top running back prospects in the country in Virginia Tech’s George Bell, NC State’s Andre Brown, and Florida State’s Jamaal Edwards. Continuing the trend of talented ball carriers in 2005 is Ragsdale High School (Jamestown, NC) star Toney Baker , who promises to be one of the most highly recruited backs in the 2005 class.
Baker is a chiseled 5-10, 220 pounds and runs a 4.4 in the 40 yard dash. As a junior, he rushed for 3,411 yards at around a nine yards-per-carry average, scoring 41 touchdowns. A good receiver out of the backfield, Baker caught 13 passes for 295 yards.
“What sets him apart from everyone else is his vision,” Ragsdale Head Coach Tommy Norwood said. “I always say he sees things better than anyone else on the field. I like to say he’s got eyes in his ears. He knows exactly when to make his move. He’s a strong kid – he can bench press 430 pounds. His strength is a big key as is his speed. Toney is a uniquely talented player.”
While he is a strong and punishing runner, Baker possesses awesome cut-back ability.
“His running style is a combination of a power back who can cut on an angle,” Norwood said. “He can cut flat. Most guys lose speed when they make their cuts, but Toney cuts flat and doesn’t lose his speed. And he gets stronger as the game goes on. He’s just as strong or stronger on the last carry of the game as he is on the first carry of the game.”
A humble attitude and excellent work ethic make Baker an even more attractive prospect to college recruiters. He has received scholarship offers from schools including UNC, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Wake Forest, Clemson, Duke, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina. Many more are heavily recruiting Baker.
“The good thing about Toney is that you wouldn’t know he could play by the way he acts,” Norwood said. “I think there’s a confidence in what he can do, but he’s by no means cocky at all. He’s a quiet kid. He keeps to himself. He’s got a great work ethic. He’s been coming to our summer workouts ever since the 7th grade and hasn’t missed any since.”
Of the programs who have offered, Baker mentions five favorites in the early part of the recruiting process. He has visited four of his current top five schools.
“The schools he lists to me are UNC, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Tennessee,” Norwood said. “Those are the five that...
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