Top Target: Toney Baker

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Toney Baker was an instant success for Ragsdale High School (Jamestown, NC). As a 192 pound freshman, he was able to step in and contribute at a high level in just his first year in varsity football. Baker’s natural ability was demonstrated in how quickly he adapted to the next level.

“It was a big difference coming from the eighth grade,” Baker said about playing varsity football as a freshman. “Once I got there, everyone was bigger and stronger. I got used to it real quick. I worked hard and had a good year.”

Fast forward to his junior season last year, when Baker rushed for an amazing 3,411 yards and 41 touchdowns despite facing defenses aimed at stuffing the run. He credits his production to improved field vision over the years.

“My vision has been picking up throughout high school,” Baker said. “I see things a lot better now.”

Strong and fast, the 5-10, 220 pound Baker posts consistent 4.4 times in the 40 yard dash. His maximum bench press is 425 pounds and he can power-clean a maximum of 300 pounds. He continues to get stronger and is especially anxious for his senior season.

“I really am [looking forward to my senior season],” Baker said. “This football season is going to be special. This year I think we’ll be able to throw the ball a little more than last year.”

Recruiting-wise, Baker says he has “lost count” of the amount of offers he has received. One of the nation’s top running backs, he has held a consistent top five of North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Virginia, and Virginia Tech for quite some time.

“I’ve been looking at these schools since the beginning,” Baker said. “I’ve looked at what they all have to offer.”

Baker says the two in-state programs do not necessarily have an advantage in terms of location. He has visited NC State and UNC more than the other top programs on his list.

“I don’t think so,” Baker said when asked if the in-state schools have an advantage. “All of the schools listed are not far away. I mean NC State is nice, but Virginia and Virginia Tech are not really far at all.”

The other school Baker has visited before is UVa. He visited Charlottesville for this year’s Nike Combine and attended the Spring game as well. He attended the Nike Combine in Blacksburg last year but did not have a chance to tour the campus.

Baker does not want to say Tech and Tennessee are behind the other three schools at this point because he has not