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Baker earns All-American spot | Prep football news
Each January, the top senior football players gather in San Antonio, Texas for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
In 2014, for the second straight year, the Bellevue Wolverines will be represented.
Senior all-around threat Bishard, "Budda" Baker became only the third Bellevue player in program history to be named to the prestigious roster, following the path of 2013 graduate and current UCLA Bruin Myles Jack and former offensive lineman Stephen Schilling, now with the San Diego Chargers. David Decastro, a 2008 graduate who went on to play at Stanford, played in the Offense-Defense All-American game as a senior as well.
Baker will be one of 90 players invited to the game and said during his team's Wednesday practice the honor has been one he has thought about for the past year when he watched his teammate receive the honor.
"I liked how they did the whole presentation," he said of last year's celebration for Jack. "I knew I couldn't wait until next year."
Baker, who has scored touchdowns returning kicks and punts, rushing, receiving and on defense, is widely considered to be among the top 150 recruits in the country and the top player in the state this season. Bellevue coaches have never shied away from heaping praise on their all-purpose threat, and second-year defensive coordinator Matt Coombs, himself a Bellevue alum and key member of the team when it began its first four-peat in 2001, said the "wow" moments from his senior safety have been as consistent as his unwavering work ethic.
"It happens week-to-week," Coombs said of Baker's ability to make jaw-dropping plays in all three phases of the game. "He knows exactly what his job is on every call and can diagnose plays so much quicker than anyone I've seen at the high school level."
His collegiate choices have reportedly been narrowed to UCLA, where head coach Jim Mora has several Bellevue ties, Oregon and Washington, where former Bellevue assistant Danny Razore is a graduate assistant.
But before he can turn his attention to the droves of major colleges recruiting him, or even the All-American Bowl in January, he knows he has one more thing to do with the Wolverines.
"I'm really excited," he said of the honor, adding he has been able to measure himself against some of those same All-Americans at Nike's The Opening, a combine event for top recruits. "I hopefully made a name there and hopefully I can again, but right now I'm just focused on this state championship."
Baker, who is one of two Washington preps selected along with Mountlake Terrace running back Devante Downs, will be recognized Thursday, Oct. 10 at 2:45 p.m. in a ceremony at Bellevue High School.