What position he plays hardly matters for the leader of Minden’s formidable defense.
As a linebacker, Zikerrion Baker becomes the focal point of a trio coach Spencer Heard calls the best he’s seen in four years with the Crimson Tide. Or The Times’ 2015 All-Area Defensive Player of the Year can move forward and assume a three-point stance, turning him into an incredibly difficult to stop defensive end.
Either way, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior creates serious challenges for opposing offenses. The kind of challenges coaches like Heard try to avoid, even in practice.
“When we’re trying to run plays against him I find myself trying to run away from him a lot,” Heard said. “He’s a very versatile kid, being able to stand up like he does and drop down defensive end, very explosive off the edge.”
Baker said his position doesn’t really change his goal of staying aggressive and making plays all over the field. He thrives on rushing quarterbacks and finished with five sacks a year ago as part of a team-high 103 tackles.
It’s clear Baker wants to do even more in his final season, and that means taking his leadership role seriously. He’s eager to held responsible for keeping up his teammates’ morale, no matter what obstacles lie ahead.
“(I) just push them to be the best they can be,” Baker said. “(The younger players) got a lot of raw talent. They should be able to do something with it.”
Those efforts don’t go unnoticed by Heard, who praised Baker for motivating his teammates on the field and in the weight room. He’s developed strong connections with the rest of the Crimson Tide defense and refers to senior linebacker Cameron Morgan as “like my older brother.”
Heard fields plenty of questions about Baker from college coaches, though he’s still exploring his options and declined to name any favorites. Although FBS schools have yet to offer him a scholarship, Baker said he’s spoken with coaches at LSU, Houston, and UL Lafayette.
“We’re lucky to have him,” Heard said. “Every coach that comes in here loves him.”