Who Got to Budda?

I need to preface this article by saying that I do not know Budda Baker.  Not personally, professionally, or in any other capacity.  If I did, then perhaps I wouldn’t need to ask the following question:

Who got to him?

If you’re not following the recruiting trail, Budda Baker is a standout prep from Bellevue, Washington, and verbally committed to play football at Oregon in 2014.  His twitter account exploded upon his announcement, which included a picture of him draped in Oregon gear.  It seemed the perfect fit — the star athlete, bursting with potential on both sides of the ball, headed to the most innovative university in the country.

Then, in an instant, it was gone.

Budda announced last week that he was de-committing from Oregon, and that “It’s not the place for me.”  Now, the fact that an 18-yr. old changed his mind isn’t the part that gets me.  That happens all the time.  The timing — and what he said — is what leads me to question.  It sounds as if Baker is saying “Someone told me things about Oregon, and now I’m moving on.”

So, the question of “who?” must be asked.

Was is Chris Peterson?  The new Huskies coach knows the Oregon program well, having served as an assistant before moving to Boise State.  It’s also in his best interest to keep the top talent in the state of Washington home, which Budda certainly is.

Jim Mora

Kevin Cline

Jim Mora

Was is Jim Mora?  Let’s face it — no one would put it past ol’ Jimmy to play dirty pool in the recruiting game.  And, suddenly, Baker has an official visit scheduled for UCLA next week.  Very interesting.

Was it De’Anthony Thomas?  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that DAT had fallen out of favor with the coaching staff as the season wounded down.  Perhaps it was his Rose Bowl comments?  A lack of maturity and motivation?  We will probably never truly know the reason, but it’s safe to assume that if the coaches had indeed lost faith in DAT, then I’m guessing he felt the same way toward the coaches.  Thomas and Baker are surely in contact after meeting each other and getting to know themselves during the official visit –  that’s what kids do.  But perhaps that means the culprit is in Oregon’s backyard.

Perhaps . . . no one got to him at all.  He said late last week in an interview that he couldn’t envision himself living in Eugene for four years, and that he wanted to play defense, but Oregon had him tabbed for offense.  Yeah.  R-i-i-i-ght.

I find it incredibly hard to believe that the Oregon coaching staff would be so stubborn as to lose a player over a position dispute.  You don’t let a guy like Baker get away; especially considering Oregon’s defense wasn’t exactly the second coming of the Purple People Eaters last year.  He wants to play safety?  Oregon would have let him.  He’s not a huge fan of Eugene?  Just show him the facilities and the cheerleaders again. No, it’s not as simple as Budda is making it out to be.  It can’t be; there has to be more to the story.

I wish Baker nothing but the best; by all accounts he’s a wonderful kid who, maybe, had a sudden change of heart and that’s it.  If there’s more to the story, however, and someone is spreading unsubstatiated things about Oregon, it’s in the school’s best interest to find out who — and put a stop to it immediately.

(Top picture from Video)

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Joel Gunderson

Joel Gunderson

Joel Gunderson grew up in a small town, where the only thing he did for fun was worship the Oregon Ducks. He later moved to Eugene, where he studied journalism at the U of O. After working in radio, he married the woman of his dreams and settled down. Joel now spends his days studying Journalism and the fine world of grammar, all the while worshiping the ground that Charles "Chip" Kelly walks on! Follow him on twitter @gundy85

  • reggie reynolds


  • Guest

    Something fishy happened with Baker’s recruiting and even more troubling is that he de-commited right after the “quite period.” Did a rival coach break NCAA recruiting rules in the process? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time an opposing coach used negative/questionable recruiting tactics.

    Even if he ends up at UW, I certainly wouldn’t trade our class with the Husky’s.

    GO DUCKS!!!

  • bobd2

    Paranoia in print. Sad

  • Dave Morgan

    “…as the season wounded down..”? Get somebody to edit this crap.

  • hokieduck

    It seemed to me that Budda Baker was not a firm commitment from the start. He vacillated from the very beginning. I believe him when he says he wanted a place that was more exciting, an urban atmosphere, and that certainly is not Eugene.Perhaps I am naive, but I do not see any grand conspiracy thing here.

    Furthermore and more importantly to me, Joel, I am disappointed in your accusing DAT of possibly undermining the program. Especially since you do not provide even one shred of evidence other than the raw accusation(s) to back that up. This is a kid who was a great Duck, gave us wonderful moments that I, for one, will always remember and who should be valued not demeaned on Duck websites. Disappointed is actually a mild word for it.

  • Guest

    hokieduck —

    Eugene hasn’t changed since Budda Baker originally visited and then subsequently committed. I understand that kids change their minds but “wanting a more urban atmosphere” sounds like some other coach go in his ear.


  • Mark Gilbert

    when ever I hear that a kid wants a more urban or bigger town to basically play in,,aka get into trouble possibly.. Portland is a big less than 2 hr drive and Salem the states capitol is about an hour or so,,,, the coast is less than hr and half away so I am quite sure that it was someone or something other than this,,I currently live in Oklahoma after living in Oregon for 38 years and you want to talk about backwards and behind the times,,, i find it hard that either OK ST or OU sooners ever get a recruit to come there,, talk about small,,,yes OK city is big but also a mess,,, anyway just wanted to chip in ,,,,, Go Ducks

  • Jason Curtis

    As of today he has signed with the Husky’s. I don’t believe anything subversive went on here. Word is he has a sick family member and choose to stay closer to home.

    When de-committing there were a few Duck fans who posted some nasty stuff to him. And on twitter. I love following recruiting and learning about some of these kids, and I am extremely passionate about our Ducks. But we should never lose sight of the fact that these are kids. 18 y/o in many cases. I wasn’t the same person day to day when I was 18. The person should be above the game.