It is not every day a student wants to extend his or her time in high school but Drake Baker decided to stay in it for just a few more months to benefit his future. After showing out on the football and basketball teams at Holtville, Baker announced he had left the school to reclassify and continue his education and athletic career at USA Academy in Coosada.
“I realized this was an option when (USA Academy founder) Dusty (DeVaughn) told me about it,” Baker said. “He handled everything. It’s going pretty good.”
In order to be eligible for another high school season, Baker had to reclassify under NCAA rules and he said DeVaughn was the one that handled those calls. Because USA Academy is not in the AHSAA, DeVaughn said there is no governing body for each reclassification case.
Baker already had offers to play college football from several FBS schools including Tennessee and Jacksonville State. However, Baker believes one more year can help him show what else he can do.
During three years with the Bulldogs, Baker threw for 3,786 yards and 31 touchdowns while completing 59.8 percent of his passes. He was Holtville’s starting quarterback for most of that time but he was forced to miss several games with injuries so he wanted to get another chance at more time on the field.
“I want to show the coaches what I can do,” Baker said. “I missed really all of my junior year (due to injury). I feel like they can better my future.”
Baker said he has already had a lot of contact with USA Academy coaches including a close relationship with director of player personnel and football operations Kenyatta Watson. Baker admitted he was skeptical about the school and its plans when he first heard the news but after time with the school, he feels he made the right decision.
“I didn’t even think it was real,” Baker said. “But when I got here and talked to Dusty, I could see he was really trying to do something good.”
Baker is listed as a 3-star pro-style quarterback by rivals.com and he spent most of his time at Holtville as the quarterback but Baker said he is prepared for a position change. He said college coaches have been asking him about playing other positions and that was a big factor in getting another high school season under his belt so he could show what else he could do.
“I want to focus on my school and I want to try to get as many offers as I can,” Baker said. “I want to go to a Power 5 school so I’m just exploring other options.”
Baker had very limited experience on the defensive end at Holtville but he said he wants to get more time playing on the edge. Baker said he is ready for the challenge.
“It might be tough at first but they all want to see me play defense,” Baker said. “I only played quarterback because I had an arm. I’m just always going to play where I’m needed.”