by Mike Potter
Are you ready for some football?
N.C. Central's transfer linebacker Michael Baker (pictured) has been named Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Preseason Newcomer of the Year according to Lindy's Football 2009 College Football Preview.
The former all-Missouri linebacker from Cardinal Ritter High in St. Louis was rated as the No. 18 outside linebacker prospect in the nation by ESPN.com out of high school in 2007.
When he decided to transfer from Miami University of Ohio, he started a recruiting war which the Eagles eventually won.
"Michael is a legitimate Division I football player," said NCCU head coach Mose Rison, whose team finished 4-7 last season and opens on Sept. 5 at Hampton.
"He had several Division I scholarship offers, but we had a long relationship with him and his family, so he felt most comfortable with NCCU. ... He will make a significant impact on our defense with his size, athletic ability and aggressive attitude."
The 6-foot, 210-pound Baker put up some big numbers in high school. In three seasons with the Lions, he had 357 tackles including 192 solos and seven interceptions.
He also played quarterback and running back as a senior, running for 726 yards and eight touchdowns while throwing for 236 yards and three touchdowns.