Five Things To Know: Jerome Baker


1. In the 2017 edition of Sports Illustrated's Freaks List, which ranks the top 40 workout warriors in college football, Baker came in at number 17, which happened to be his jersey number at Ohio State. "The Buckeyes' recent 40-yard dash board in the Woody Hayes Center lists six players clocking 4.36 or faster in the 40 led by JC transfer CB Kendall Sheffield," SI's Bruce Feldman wrote. "But I'm going with the seventh-fastest player. The 223-pound Baker was timed at 4.37, and he looks every bit that fast on film. In his debut season as a starter, Baker piled up 83 tackles to go with 9.5 tackles for loss and two INTs. Better still, Baker was at his best in big games: He delivered a pick-six at Oklahoma; notched 13 tackles at No. 8 Wisconsin and came up with 15 tackles and an interception against No. 3 Michigan."

2. Baker made big plays in big games during his time at Ohio State. He returned an interception 68 yards for a touchdown to give the Buckeyes a 14-0 lead at No. 14 Oklahoma in 2016. He had 13 tackles in an overtime win at No. 8 Wisconsin in 2016. He had a then-career-high 15 tackles against No. 3 Michigan, plus a critical interception late in the third quarter with Ohio State down by 10, in the 2016 win over Michigan. And he had a career-high 16 tackles in the 2017 Big Ten championship game win over Wisconsin.

3. Baker was compared by to Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith, a 2014 fifth-round pick who earned his first Pro Bowl invitation last season.

4. Baker originally committed to play at the University of Florida, but eventually changed his mind and switched to Ohio State in part because of the firing of Gators head coach Will Muschamp and in part because of LeBron James' departure from the Miami Heat and back to Cleveland in July 2014.

5. Baker was born on Christmas Day in 1996.