April 28, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State junior running back Edwin Baker, who rushed for nearly 2,300 yards and 19 touchdowns in three seasons, has been selected by the San Diego Chargers in the seventh round (No. 250 overall) of the 2012 National Football League Draft Saturday, April 28.
Baker becomes Michigan State's sixth draft pick, joining defensive tackle Jerel Worthy (Green Bay/second round), quarterback Kirk Cousins (Washington/fourth round), wide receiver Keshawn Martin (Houston/fourth round), safety Trenton Robinson (San Francisco/sixth round) and wide receiver B.J. Cunningham (Miami/sixth round). It marks the most draft selections for the Spartans since seven players were taken in 2000.
Michigan State is one of only eight schools to have had at least one player chosen every year since the inception of the common NFL Draft in 1967. MSU joins Arizona State, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas and USC as the only programs with at least one draft choice for 46 consecutive years.
The 5-9, 210-pound Baker started eight games in 2011 and ranked as the team's second-leading rusher with 665 yards (170 carries) and five rushing TDs. He recorded season highs for carries (26) and rushing yards (167) in MSU's 28-14 win over No. 11 Michigan.
Baker also had five receptions for 60 yards as a junior, including a 17-yard TD grab from Cousins at Iowa.
"I definitely got a little nervous as the draft moved into the seventh round, but I still believed that someone would pick me," Baker said.
"San Diego thought that I had great vision and change of direction, and the coaches there believe I can be a great pro back. I had limited receptions (in college), but they believe that I catch the ball well enough when the ball is thrown my way.
"But I understand that I have to prove my versatility and that I can be an every down back. A day won't go by where I won't be out there catching extra balls before and after practice. I will show them that when the time comes, I will make the key catch. I'm just anxious to put the pads back on and to get to work.
"Coach D (Dantonio) and Michigan State mean everything to me. I won't ever forget about my experiences at Michigan State - both on and off the field - and what those did for me. Those experiences taught me a lot about being a man. The Spartan football program is a brotherhood, and I will always feel like I'm part of that family. Coach D called to congratulate me moments after my selection and that meant a lot to me."
"Edwin Baker is an explosive playmaker, who has the ability to go the distance anytime he has the ball in his hands," MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said. "He runs with toughness and an attitude. Edwin brings it every time he steps on the field. He's the prototype I tailback. Edwin had a productive career at Michigan State, including a great sophomore season."
In 2010, he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the media after leading the team in carries (207), rushing yards (1,201) and rushing TDs (13). Baker became just the sixth sophomore in MSU history to reach the 1,000-yard rushing milestone. He ranked fourth in the Big Ten and No. 30 in the NCAA FBS in rushing, averaging 92.4 yards per game.
The Highland Park, Mich., native started 21 of 35 career games and ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in rushing yards (12th with 2,293), rushing attempts (13th with 462) and rushing TDs (18th with 19). Baker posted six career 100-yard rushing games.