UPDATE: Rutgers Officially Hires Henry Baker
Rutgers football announced at 10:01 AM on 1.26.17 that Baker is the new cornerbacks coach. Here is a statement from head coach Chris Ash:
“I am excited to add Henry to our staff,” said Ash. “He's a New Jersey guy and a highly intelligent coach. Henry will be a great mentor and leader for our players.”
It has been ten days since it was first reported that former Rutgers assistant defensive backs coach Aaron Henry was leaving for N.C. State and very little news on his potential replacement has surfaced since. That was until ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg tweeted this report earlier this afternoon.
SOURCE: Rutgers has hired former Delaware assistant Henry Baker as cornerbacks coach. He replaces Aaron Henry,... https://t.co/yNdHscDKZt— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) January 25, 2017
Nothing has been confirmed by Rutgers, nor has any local news outlets reported the hire, as of yet.
Baker has been the defensive backs coach at FCS school Delaware since 2011. He has served the past few seasons under head coach Dave Brock, who was the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Rutgers for the 2012 season. He previously coached under former Rutgers assistant Ralph Friedgen at Maryland in 2008 & 2009, working with the secondary, linebackers, and special teams during his tenure. Baker is a Maryland alumni and played there from 1994-1997, when the Terrapins were in the ACC.
From a recruiting perspective, this part of his Delaware bio is intriguing:
Baker previously served as Maryland's recruiting intern in 2001 and has high school coaching experience at Eastside High School in Paterson, N.J. (2003, 2005-06) and South Miami (Fla.) High School in 2007, before returning to his alma mater. His time at Eastside included an appearance in the New Jersey Group IV Section 1 state championship game.
Being a former North Jersey high school coach can only help Rutgers, as one criticism of head coach Chris Ash’s current staff is the lack of local ties. His twitter profile here indicates his current recruiting areas at Delaware are Maryland, Washington, D.C., Orlando and Tampa in Florida.
Another positive on Baker’s resume is that he was awarded the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship the past two summers, where he took part in training camps with the Detroit Lions in 2015 and New York Giants in 2016. As a player, he spent some time with the Kansas City Chiefs, as well as a few stints in the Arena Football League, per his Delaware bio.
If hired, Baker would complete the coaching staff under Ash at Rutgers, just a few days before National Signing Day on February 1st. It appears Baker would slot in under current defensive backs coach Bill Busch, just like Aaron Henry did, although their titles would not be the same, per the report by Rittenberg. Baker does have quite a bit more coaching experience than Henry.
The only tie to the current staff I could find was that Baker was a recruiting intern at Maryland when Rutgers wide receivers coach Jafar Williams was a player for the Terps.
Ash previously hired offensive coordinator Jerry Kill and running backs coach Lester Erb earlier this offseason. For the latest updates on the 2017 recruiting class ahead of NSD next week, click here. Once additional information becomes available on this potential hire, we will update this story accordingly.