Alpha: Toney Baker Is 2009 Football’s X-Man

One of the more heralded football recruits in recent memory to make their way to West Raleigh is certainly Toney Baker. The Jamestown, NC player was a consensus All-American, and it was the Army All-Star game on national television that Toney did the hat dance where he ultimately donned the red and white cap with a Block-S on it. At the time it felt natural that Baker would achieve all-star status and lead the Wolfpack program into a post-Philip-Rivers era of consistent bowls contention for conference championships.

It didn’t work out that way.

NC State football fell into a swoon. Chuck Amato was fired. And, Toney Baker suffered a devastating knee injury inthe first game of the 2007 season against Central Florida. Baker has since missed effectively two full seasons while undergoing two knee surgeries. Baker has remained in college throughout, done everything asked of him by his rehab trainers and by the Wolfpack staff. Today, all accounts from NC State indicate that Baker’s perspective that he is ready to go is accurate.

“The way I feel running now and the way I felt then is completely different. In my mind, I felt like it was time, but maybe it was just a little too early. But sitting out and waiting last season, I can really feel the difference.””

If Baker returns to form, he will share backfield duties with Jamelle Eugene, the versatile Wolfpack running back that was an after thought when he joined the program. Eugene is missing spring practice because of a shoulder injury, and as a result, Baker will get plenty of repetitions in the spring. He’s splitting time with redshirt freshman Brandon Barnes and true freshman James Washington III, the next generation of Wolfpack backs, leaving Baker as the “old man” on the squad — albeit a talented “old man” who is itching to get back to form and back on the sod of Carter-Finley Stadium carrying the ball for the Pack. He’s also excited to be playing with Russell Wilson, the talented NC State quarterback:

“It has changed a lot having him as quarterback,” Baker said. “There is somebody on defense who will have to account for Russell Wilson on every play, and that will open up the running game. The fact that he can throw the football will open it up even more.”

Analysis: If Baker comes back as healthy and strong as he was pre-injury, he will add a potent weapon to Dana Bible’s offense and provide some much-needed depth in the running back corps. Helping carry the load of running duties with Jamelle Eugene will keep both of them stronger during games and throughout the course of the season, and also allow Brandon Barnes to come in as a lightning-fast change of pace back that can break a game wide-open late.  Fresh legs in the fourth quarter can mean victories, and having three strong backs will give you not only that, but will also help avoid a major dropoff should one of them be injured and miss some playing time.  In short, a healthy and productive Baker can mean nothing but good things for a Wolfpack offense that is designed to control the clock and time of possession of the opposition.

'09 Football Chuck Amato General

95 Responses to Alpha: Toney Baker Is 2009 Football’s X-Man

  1. BJD95 03/30/2009 at 10:30 AM #

    Football makes me smile. Come back soon, king of all sports!

  2. wolfpack95 03/30/2009 at 10:33 AM #

    Agreed.

    Is Underwood redshirting, moved to another position or experiencing difficulties?

    I havent seen his name mentioned in the last few weeks.

  3. JasonP 03/30/2009 at 10:37 AM #

    Toney Baker puts his foot in the ground and runs the ball like a man. There is no dancing or indecision behind the line of scrimmage. He’s one of the hardest runners I’ve ever seen at State. You can see chunks of turf coming off his cleats even in the nosebleeds of CF.

    Congrats on the recovery and good luck on the season Toney!

  4. whitefang 03/30/2009 at 10:40 AM #

    More football threads!!!
    Thanks

  5. buttPACKer 03/30/2009 at 10:48 AM #

    YYEEEEEHHHAAAAA. . . FOOTBALL!

  6. Thinkpack17 03/30/2009 at 10:51 AM #

    NC State’s got it’s own Earth, Wind and Fire son!

  7. haze 03/30/2009 at 10:54 AM #

    Second the comment on Underwood.

    I haven’t seen that he’s moving positions and he’s rock solid so I wouldn’t think that he’d need to move. If it were at all possible, it’d be great to RS Curtis to spread the schollies a bit at RB.

  8. Cosmo96 03/30/2009 at 11:50 AM #

    I’m way out of the loop on this, but where does Toney Baker stand in regard to getting an extra year of eligibility? It seems like he could possibly get some sort of medical hardship exemption since he only played in one game in 2007. If it was granted, that would mean he could come back next year, if he wanted. That would be huge, since we lose Eugene next year.

    Does anyone know the deal with this? Thanks.

  9. Noah 03/30/2009 at 11:52 AM #

    Curtis Underwood’s problem is that there are four guys in front of him that are significantly better.

    Baker is never going to be the homerun hitter that we thought when we signed him. But he doesn’t really need to be. What we need is someone to give us 15-20 carries a game and be able to get about four yards a pop.

  10. Thinkpack17 03/30/2009 at 12:02 PM #

    True, Baker just needs to run hard like he always does. He loves contact so he’ll soften up those linemen, then we can bring in a fresh runner to close the game.

    I am eager to see what Donald Bowens can do this year.

  11. Noah 03/30/2009 at 12:02 PM #

    Cosmo, Baker has to exhaust his current eligibility before being able to apply for another year.

  12. Noah 03/30/2009 at 12:03 PM #

    I am eager to see what Donald Bowens can do this year.

    You know that you won’t be seeing him before…late Oct. at the earliest, right?

  13. Thinkpack17 03/30/2009 at 12:09 PM #

    Is it late Oct? Damn I guess he does need Rehab time. I’m trying to see another 200 yard game! Well I guess maybe Owen Spencer could go crazy, with the help of some crazy glue on his gloves.

  14. Noah 03/30/2009 at 12:14 PM #

    We’re fine at WR. Very deep.

  15. choppack1 03/30/2009 at 12:33 PM #

    Thinkpack – Bowens supposedly hurt his knee real bad before spring practice.

    I actually am hoping for big things from Spencer. He’s young – but he did some things you can’t coach – like getting open consistently. He may never have the best hands – but I think he can improve them.

  16. Cosmo96 03/30/2009 at 12:34 PM #

    Cosmo, Baker has to exhaust his current eligibility before being able to apply for another year.

    Thanks. He essentially lost two whole years, and it would be great if he could get them both back. I hope he’s given that option, if he chooses.

  17. Thinkpack17 03/30/2009 at 12:45 PM #

    “Thinkpack – Bowens supposedly hurt his knee real bad before spring practice.

    I actually am hoping for big things from Spencer. He’s young – but he did some things you can’t coach – like getting open consistently. He may never have the best hands – but I think he can improve them.”

    Damn, I heard he got surgery, but I assumed it was for his back. I didn’t know about his knee…that does suck. Yeah don’t get me wrong, I love Owen’s game. I mean of course I go crazy when he drops the ball. But you take the bad with the good, you wouldn’t even realize the drops were so bad if he didn’t absolutely torch his defenders.

  18. Noah 03/30/2009 at 1:00 PM #

    Spencer, Jarvis Williams, Jay Smith, Stephen Howard, Darrell Davis and TJ Graham (assuming he returns) will be a formidable rotation.

    The offense is going to be fine this year. If we can be strong on the DL, we’ll be a very good team.

  19. Alpha Wolf 03/30/2009 at 1:02 PM #

    Owen Spencer could be a great receiver, but he will really need to improve his catching technique. I suspect that will happen, because our coaches are great teachers — and if it doesn’t someone else will play in his place. This coaching staff doesn’t play around in that regard, something I truly respect.

  20. Thinkpack17 03/30/2009 at 1:09 PM #

    “If we can be strong on the DL, we’ll be a very good team.”

    That’s true, Cash is a space eater though…I’m sure teams will look to run away from him.

  21. Wolf Dog 03/30/2009 at 1:18 PM #

    We have the potential to have a really good year this year.

    Remember Spring Game is April 18th and they are taking donations for the Kay Yow Fund at the gate. I have 20 friends and family members committed to going so far. Lets Pack the Place to Kick Off a Good Year and Raise some money in the Process!

  22. Greywolf 03/30/2009 at 1:25 PM #

    BJD95
    March 30th, 2009 at 10:30 am
    Football makes me smile. Come back soon, king of all sports!
    `
    And roundball made me a cranky old man. Sincerest apologies.
    After reading Alpha’s short bit on Baker and reading just 22 posts, I’m grinning like a jackass eatin’ briars.
    `
    I know some of the mystique of the internet is anonymity but I keep having the thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to get together at the Spring Game with some of the guys from StateFans?”
    `
    Alpha, How about starting a football thread about twice a week until interest fades out? Some topic like how is Glennon doing or who’s emerging, etc. IMNSHO This thread will get long and deep and hard to find if we don’t. Just asking…

    Alpha: that’s my plan. As for a get together, there are two things in the works — one, getting together at the Spring Game, though I “have to” play in my club’s member-member in the morning. I plan to leave for the Spring Game arounf 12:30 or so, and then hang around afterwards. Secondly, there’s a late spring / early summer golf outing/potluck cookout being boiled up, and we’ll talk about that when details can be worked out.

  23. Greywolf 03/30/2009 at 1:29 PM #

    Toney Baker TD run with a nice “Hello” to the safety

  24. Greywolf 03/30/2009 at 1:34 PM #

    Noah
    March 30th, 2009 at 1:00 pm
    “Spencer, Jarvis Williams, Jay Smith, Stephen Howard, Darrell Davis and TJ Graham (assuming he returns) will be a formidable rotation.
    `
    Noah, Say some more about “TJ Graham (assuming he returns)” please. I haven’t heard anything about this distressing thought.

  25. backinpack 03/30/2009 at 1:39 PM #

    …TJ Graham (assuming he returns)…

    Is there some serious doubt?

    (EDIT: Just saw Greywolf post the same thing, and I hope this is nothing.)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Topics about Football » StateFans Nation » Toney Baker Is 2009 Football’s X-Man - 03/31/2009

    OYncp3 Thanks so much for the article.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

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