Times flies for 2014 S Bishard Baker

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- For Bishard “Budda” Baker, it seems like only recently he was a freshman being called up to the Bellevue (Wash.) varsity team.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “I’m a junior already.”

Since his first year in the program, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound safety has developed into one of the nation’s top prospects, piling up offers from Washington, Notre Dame and UCLA, among others, while generating interest from SEC programs as well.

“At the end of the day, I couldn’t have done this without the team,” Baker said.

The ESPN Watch List member has received plenty of interest from college coaches, but his focus throughout his junior season has been on the getting the Wolverines back to the Class 3A state title game.

“We’re just so happy for this game coming up,” he said. “We’ll be ready on Friday. This year, we’ve still got to finish.”

Before the season, Baker couldn’t wait to play Euless (Texas) Trinity. Now, though, he has the opportunity to be a part of a fifth straight state title for Bellevue, which would mean much more to him than the winning that major matchup in the team’s season opener.

“This is, to me, bigger,” he said. “Trinity was great, but Trinity is in the past now. This is the present. One more game.”

Once the season ends Friday night, Baker will say goodbye to senior teammates such as Washington commit Sean Constantine and UCLA commit Myles Jack. While they turn their attentions to their college careers, Baker will shift his focus back to recruiting.

“I love these teammates, but after the season I’ll see them all go away and, hopefully, see them have success in college football,” he said. "Definitely, after the season I’ll look more at colleges.”