MILLS, Mass. – Jon Baker’s hungry.
Obviously, with a 6-foot-3, 305-pound frame to support, it’s a common problem for the Millis/Hopedale football lineman. After the hulking senior Boston College commit signed an early National Letter of Intent Friday morning in Millis High’s library, officially marking his arrival at the Heights next season, all that was on his mind was grabbing a bite to eat.
“Getting this done, there’s a lot of weight off my shoulders,” Baker said. “Everything’s done, there’s no messing around. Plans have obviously changed, it’ll be a little bit tougher, but nothing too big has changed.”
Baker would have had more on his plate Friday, as his Mohawks prepared to take on Mashpee in an MIAA Division 6 South sectional playoff game, if not for a season-ending knee injury. During M/H’s Tri-Valley League game against Bellingham two weeks ago, Baker suffered a right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear.
As a result, Baker’s priorities have shifted to rehabbing and getting back on the field as soon as possible to join his new Eagles teammates. He’s undergoing surgery on Monday, but with the peace of mind, knowing he now is signed and sealed to BC, Baker’s ready for the next chapter of his life.
“Sooner I get it done,” Baker said of the surgery, “the sooner I get back to practice and get back to playing.”
Mohawks head coach Dale Olmsted called Baker “a professional” during Friday’s gathering, citing his ambition and attention to detail. That’s carried Baker through his high school career, and it’s no coincidence that he’s accelerated his transition to college. Baker will graduate in December and is enrolled for the spring semester at BC (allowing him to sign his Letter early) and, aside from his rehabilitation, he’ll get a head start on his course work.
It’s emblematic of his approach on the field as well.
“The minute he went down with the injury, he looked up at me and said, ‘What if I just play offense?’” Olmsted said.
Expectations at Chestnut Hill are high for Baker. In his talks with BC’s coaching staff, Olmsted made mention that the Eagles staff believes Baker is among of the top incoming interior offensive linemen in the country.
Baker, who projects to work at guard and center with the Eagles, is simply thrilled to get to work with Steve Addazio and his staff.
“This new staff is amazing,” Baker said. “Just what they’ve managed to do this season, they haven’t really had any of the guys they’ve recruited come in, but they’ve managed to turn things around. I love the style of play they have and I look forward to getting in there and working with them.
“And, it’s close to home, so that’s great.”
Baker also had offers from Michigan State, Rutgers, Temple, UConn, UMass, Harvard, Yale, Old Dominion and Holy Cross, but it’s BC’s long-served reputation as a lineman factory that he’s hoping to reestablish.
“It was O-line U,” Baker said of the Eagles’ long lineage of linemen to play in the NFL.
If he stays hungry, he might just join them.