(Dustin’s note: combined the two recruiting stories into one for tomorrow’s paper)
When Delroy Baker told Indiana coach Kevin Wilson that he was verbally committing to the Hoosiers, Baker said, Wilson and offensive line coach Greg Frey chest-bumped each other.
Take a second. Picture that.
“It was hilarious,” said Baker, an offensive tackle from West Port High School in Ocala, Fla.
And totally understandable considering the recruiting coup and the overall recruiting success off the Wilson’s squad in recent weeks. The Hoosiers also received a commitment Wednesday from defensive lineman Willie Yarbary of Richmond Academy in Augusta, Ga. after taking a commitment Monday from Wesley Martin, a guard from West Milton, Ohio.
Baker’s is the most surprising of the group because even he thought he would be staying in-state when he got an offer from powerhouse Florida. He had been on a visit there on June 8 and was fairly certain he would be committing there.
Until June 12, when he visited Indiana.
“I left UF thinking ‘I’m about to be a Gator,’” Baker said. “I had my mind completely made up. But then when I went to Indiana, within an hour of being there, it started sinking in. It was just like, ‘I might have to push back my commitment date.’ But by the ending of the next day, but I pretty much had my mind made up that I was going to Indiana. I had the feeling when I got there, ‘Dude, this is where you belong.’”
He had narrowed his choices down to Indiana and Florida by that point, but his overall offer sheet was much more impressive. He also had scholarship offers from Florida State and Miami as well as Connecticut, Florida International, Iowa State, Missouri and several other schools.
Indiana doesn’t have nearly the football pedigree of those schools, but Baker was a fan of the atmosphere created around the program by Wilson, the third-year coach.
“It’s like they’re a huge family,” Baker said. “It’s like a family bond. You can feel it in the atmosphere when you’re there. When they were showing me love and affection, they also showed it to my tight end (Max Linder, who was participating in a camp when Baker visited.) You could tell it was genuine. It was not just for me and it wasn’t fake or anything.”
The 6-foot-6, 270 pound Baker has been used as a left tackle at West Port and expects the same at Indiana.
“I started at guard when I was a freshman in high school, but my coach told me then, ‘Delroy, we’re moving you to left tackle,’” Baker said. “‘That’s where the money is going to be for you in the NFL.’ So that’s my position.”
Yarbary isn’t sure what his position is going to be yet. The 6-foot-3, 270-pounder played both defensive tackle and defensive end last season for Richmond and recorded 108 tackles and 10 sacks.. Yarbary, who Richmond coach Chris Hughes said runs a 4.9 40-yard dash, was also used as a tight end on the offensive side of the ball.
“Against spread stuff, we’ll put him outside and he’ll rush,” Hughes said. “He uses his hands well and he’s real quick off the ball. Then against teams who like to line up in the I and run the ball, we’ll use him to clog the middle. He’s freakishly strong and he uses his hands well. And he’s the only player I’ve ever had who plays both ways.”
Yarbary will also have a difficult time deciding what to major in, though he has plenty of impressive options. Yarbary carries a 3.4 grade point average in Richmond’s rigorous International Baccalaureate program and said he wants to major in either pre-med, neuroscience or nuclear engineering.
“He’s a fantastic student,” Hughes said. “Great character kid.”
Yarbary didn’t have a hard time picking Indiana, however. Alabama-Birmingham, Cincinnati, Middle Tennessee State and Troy had offered. He had interest from Ivy League and Patriot League schools according to Hughes and there was also some interest from Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, but Yarbary was sold on IU.
“I just liked the vibe,” Yarbary said. “… The other schools were nothing compared to Indiana academically or athletically.”
Yarbary and Baker are the sixth members of Indiana’s Class of 2014.