He is currently NEI’s #1 ranked receiver in the state of Oregon for 2013 and what he is doing to opponents is nothing short of ridiculous. Austin Baird (6-0 180 WR/SS Jr) had a breakout sophomore season hauling in 980 yards receiving and 20 touchdowns accounting for 1180 all purpose yards.
Baird is currently on pace to shatter his all purpose yards total and make up for the loss to Sherwood in last year’s state championship. He is in a unique situation at Marist where he teams with Taylor Walcott (6-0 175 WR/FS Sr), one of the Northwest’s best receivers, and Josh Paiement (6-1 180 WR Sr) one of the most underrated receivers in the state.
Walcott’s a ruthless wide out and the returning 5a 100 Meter state champion from a year ago. He is currently sitting on 5 D1 offers. Paiement would be a lot of 6a teams #1 or #2 receiver but these are special circumstances. Marist QB Kamerun Smith (6-5 200 Jr) has to be the happiest kid on the planet knowing he has 3 prime time receivers to throw to. You aren’t able to double team any of them and if you do its over because no one wants that matchup.
This biggest difference in 2011 is that Baird is dominating on offense, defense, and special teams. State Championship (Tigard, Marist) Head Coach Frank Geske called Baird “the best receiver I have ever coached” in a discussion with former D1 receiver Jaleel Kindell. Bold words from one of Oregon’s all time greatest high school coaches.
The Spartans are currently (8-0) and Baird has already accounted for 16 total Tds (10 receiving, 4 punt returns, 2 interceptions). The most incredible statistic related to all of this is the fact that none of the starters have played more than a half in the last 7 games. They have outscored opponents 391-68 (48.8- 8.5), and usually have to take the second half off for sportsmanship purposes.
Baird has already accounted for 1147 all purpose yards (525 receiving, 521 punt returns, 15 rushing, 86 Int returns) closing in on last seasons total of 1180. All of these stats are great, but not the reason we have him at #1. If you watch him run routes you can’t help but stop and say wow. You immediately understand that this isn’t your typical 6 foot, 180 pound kid from Oregon. Colleges will say who has he played? What classification level? All very relevant questions that usually favor going elsewhere to get a D1 receiver. Not in this case.
At the Barton Premier Marketing event at UW over the summer Baird absolutely torched the best of the best as an underclassmen. All of the top kids from Oregon and Washington were in attendance (400+) and the only other receiver that did what he did was California bound Maximo Espitia Jr of South Salem. It was an incredible performance from an underclassmen against the best DB’s in the northwest. This was important, because running circles around kids in the Midwestern League doesn’t always justify scholarship offers.
Baird’s route running is phenomenal and his ability to change speeds and direction are rare as seen on film. No times are official but he ran a 10.8 100 Meters at an all comers meet and also clocked a 4.45 hand timed forty. These times and his 22-2″ long Jump all occurred during his sophomore year which make him that much more appealing to schools that want to know details.
Baird will be able to thrive at Barton events over the off season where all of the top competition will be. Some will argue it will give him an even bigger platform then game situations due to the lack of competition that the Spartans see during the year. Colleges want to see kids in all types of settings but most importantly against top competition. When asked about his speed Austin says ” my mom was super fast so I give her all the credit for my quicks”.
Austin is a 3.3 student and getting an outstanding education from one of the top private schools around. He will be attempting to play baseball and also compete in track over the spring doing something most athletes don’t even attempt. He says, “you have to make sacrifices but its something I want to do”. He will be playing shortstop on the diamond and most likely breaking records on the Track. ” I want to win a state title and none of this would be possible without my teammates doing what they do, I feel very fortunate”.
Good luck to Austin Moving forward, he’s a special athlete and an even better kid. We will be following his progress.
Click HERE for Austin’s highlight video on Hudl