The Texas Longhorns notched some big wins on the recruiting trail this cycle, but earning the commitment of a five-star offensive tackle is right there at the top. Head coach Steve Sarkisian has been adamant about trying to plant a flag out in the state of California and I think he may have finally achieved that goal when he went into Mater Dei and got Brandon Baker to commit to Texas.
During Baker’s commitment ceremony, he said that he “kind of knew” that he wanted to choose Texas before spending time praying about his decision and settling on the Longhorns on Sunday, informing the Texas staff 30 minutes before his announcement.
“It’s really just an on-the-fly kind of thing,” Baker said.
“They know what it looks like — Coach Sarkisian is an offensive-minded coach as well as Coach Flood, who coached at Alabama and the Falcons, so he knows what it looks like, coaching guys like Kelvin Banks now,” Baker added.
Baker is one of the best offensive line prospects in the entire country and getting him to commit to the Longhorns sent shockwaves across the recruiting landscape. Despite being a competitive recruitment, things were quiet after he made his pledge back in September. On Early Signing Day, he made things official and signed on the dotted line to become a Longhorn as he prepares to enroll early in January.
I gushed about Baker as a prospect back when he committed to the Longhorns a few months ago:
Brandon Baker is the consensus top-ranked offensive tackle prospect in the country, and when you put on the film and watch him work it is very clear right away why services across the board are high on him. He possesses good measurables at his listed 6’5, 285 pounds, and has good length in his arms that will allow him to stick at tackle long term. The best way to describe Baker is that he is boringly good. Plays with good pad level and shows good knee bend when he is locked up on a defender. Shows good lateral quickness and agility as a run blocker and in pass protection. Shows the ability to mentally process and handle defenders that are stunting post-snap. Proficient as a zone run blocker both on the front side and backside. Shows the ability to be able to execute reach blocks to set the edge and is able to execute cut-off blocks on the back side that open up cut lanes for the back. Baker shows very good play strength on film and is consistently able to displace defenders from the LOS as a drive blocker. He does a good job of climbing to the second level of the defense and getting locked up with defenders coming off combo blocks. Baker is always looking to finish his blocks and possesses a nasty demeanor that you love to see. He is going to block you through the echo of the whistle. Baker is very nimble and possesses good feet for his size. He is very effective as a puller and is able to process on the move in space. Baker is already a proficient pass-blocker at this stage in his development. He shows good patience in his kick step and doesn’t sink too deep into the pocket. He shows good timing with his punch and delivers a stiff blow to defenders that stops them in their tracks. Shows the ability to process games from the defense and stay in sync with the rest of the protection so they are able to pass off defenders executing twists and stunts. He shows that you don’t have to be passive in pass protection. Just like in the run game, he is looking for a chance to bury you if the opportunity presents itself.
As I said at the top of this eval, Baker is boringly good. He’s a high-level talent and it is clear on tape why recruiting services hold him in high regard as a prospect. It should surprise nobody if he makes his way to the field early in his career once he transitions to the collegiate level.
My prospect crush for Baker only continued to grow when I was able to take a peek at his senior film. If you haven’t watched it yet then you should take a look. The Texas offensive line position room has become more stout from a talent perspective since Kyle Flood took over, but a player of Baker’s ability is not going to have to wait around long before cracking the two-deep.
Baker is the No. 2 offensive tackle and the No. 30 player nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.