- Name: Darrell Baker Jr
- Height: 6’1”
- Weight: 199
- Position: DB
- College: Georgia Southern University
- Twitter: 12_darrell
- Instagram: dj.darrell
Talk about your experience as a student. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
I graduated last year with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. I specialized in Coaching, IT and Finance. I’m currently working on a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management
What do your teammates say is your best quality?
One of my best qualities is understanding the entire defense whether it be the DL, LBs or DBs. I try to know every position on the field. As a safety, I’m considered to be the QB of the defense. So, I’m one of the leaders.
Off the field, I’m very chill and easy to get along with. I’m a good teammate that anyone can come to if they have questions.
What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I know I can be a good follower as well as a good leader. The goal is to make players around me great so we can succeed on the field.
One of my best attributes is that I’m very versatile and have played several different positions. I originally played in a base 4-3 defense as the nickel, playing closer to the line and covering the flats. I’ve also played safety and corner, understanding zone and man concepts. As a corner, I can play press and off coverages. I’m very willing and adamant about learning the whole defense and how I can be used as a player.
On special teams, I’ve been a gunner. I’ve also played the safety position on kickoffs as the contain man, and I have protected the returner on punts. It’s hard for defenders to block me because of my speed.
Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
Back in 2019, I was able to play against LSU. That whole offense was great and Joe Burrow was their QB. That offense had a lot of speed and he distributed the ball very well.
We have very good competition in the Sun Belt Conference. ULM’s receiving core is pretty good. They know how to rotate in their playmakers. They’re all quick with good strength and size. Jalen Tolbert is a great receiver out of South Alabama. He’s a big receiver that can make big plays. He’s aggressive and surprised me with his speed.
Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
Our RB J.D. King is the teammate that impresses me the most. He plays how he practices. He makes everyone around him better. He’s very vocal and also backs it up. I like his attitude and how he approaches the game.
Derrick Canteen is a young stud we have in our secondary. He led the nation with 6 Ints in 2020 and was a Freshman All-American. Despite his success, he stays humble. He inspires me because he works extra hard. He’s also a solid dude off the field.
Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
I came in as a walk-on in 2016 and redshirted my first season. After the 2017 season, I wasn’t doing very well in school and my GPA was suffering. I was facing possible academic suspension. I was struggling with depression at the time. I was 4th string on our depth chart, I had 18 credit hours that I needed to get through that semester, all the while struggling to pay for school. I started to cut hair in order to make some money on the side.
It was a difficult struggle, but I came into work every day. I am a determined person, and I didn’t want anything to stop me. So, I put in the grind. I didn’t want to stop playing, and the thought of it being taken away from me helped to motivate me. I found out how much I loved this game. Being with my teammates as we put together a great 10-3 season in 2018 really helped me stay driven and keep my head up.
I had to wait for God’s timing and be grateful for what I’d been given. In 2020, I completed my first degree, and was finally put on scholarship Fall of 2020. I was the full-time starter that whole season.
If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
Track. I was very successful back in high school as the Georgia State Champion in the long jump at 23 feet 7.5 inches. I also did very well in the sprinting events running a 10.79 second 100m and a 21.77 second 200m.
What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I’m most proud that I’ve had the ability to keep going. Being a walk-on with some of the obstacles that I had to face, most people would have quit. Yet, I stuck with it, climbed the depth chart and became a starter. We’ve had some elite talent come through our team and gone on to the pros like Kindle Vildor, Donald Rutledge and Joshua Moon. I still have a lot to accomplish, and I’m looking forward to this upcoming season.
Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
In 2018, we were playing against Appalachian State. They had just been ranked in the top 25, and were playing in our house. I remember watching film and preparing for a particular route. We were in dime formation, and I was in the post as the strong safety. I ended up getting the interception. I remember that the stadium was so loud after that. I couldn’t hear myself think.
Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
I try to take pieces of several players and add that to my game. Richard Sherman is one of the smartest players in the league at his position. Tre’Davious White has great anticipation and foot work. Jalen Ramsey is a true shutdown corner. I love the intensity that he brings. He talks the talk and has the ability to back it up. I also respect Dez Bryant and how he kept going and wouldn’t be denied his opportunity to play. You have to respect that attitude.
Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
My favorite artist is Drake. I really like his song called You and the 6.
What is your favorite comfort food?
Gushers are my favorite snack food.
Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
Transformers is one of my favorite movies.
What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
I cut hair on the side in order to make ends meet. I’m the best bowler on the team, and I would even go so far saying that I’m the best bowler in the Sun Belt. I also enjoy a peaceful time of fishing.
Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
I play because of my family. Everything that I do is for them. I have 6 siblings, and it’s been hard for my Mom and Dad to give everyone what they wanted. Both of them are retired Army veterans that have given a lot for our country. I hope to have the opportunity to give back to my parents someday because they sacrificed so much for me.
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