After his injury last year, Baker is ready to be a football mentor


Kentucky wide receiver Dorian Baker runs downfield during the game against the Louisville Cardinals at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday, November 28, 2015 in Lexington, Ky. Louisville defeated Kentucky 38-24. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff.

Chase Campbell

Dorian Baker prepared for his final Media Day as a UK Wildcat as he looked out over the field he had been on many times over the last four years.

Baker’s road to his senior season has been rocky: Before what was supposed to be his senior season, he was dealt a devastating injury in the first scrimmage that sidelined him for the entirety of last season.

“It was just a normal screen that we always run,” Baker said. “A [defensive] lineman just ended up falling on my leg, I was in a mosh pit trying to get the ball and someone fell on my leg.”

After his injury, the Cats had an up-and-down season that saw them lose five of their last seven games, all played without Baker getting a single snap. He redshirted that year, so it’s all or nothing for him now.

“This is supposed to be one of the best seasons we’ve had since Coach [Mark] Stoops has been around, so I’m excited for it, I’m glad to be a part of it,” Baker said.

As Baker sat out the season, he took the time to mentally prepare for the season at hand. While not being able to walk without help or move around, he took the time to take “mental reps” and align himself with his role as he heads into his fifth and final season on the UK football roster.

The role he sees himself fulfilling? A mentor.

“It’s going to be unbelievable, how much production we’re going to get out of this group,” Baker said. “I’m so excited for them too. They’ve come a long way, these guys, they’re coming along good, they’ve been doing so good all summer and I’m just excited for these guys to take off.”

Baker took his eyes off the interviewers to look at receivers Lynn Bowden, Isaiah Epps and Josh Ali dancing and singing on the field just behind him.

“Look at them, man, don’t they look happy? Don’t they look excited? I’m more pulling for them, because they’re the future,” he added.

He said his main goal is to “help bring them along,” since he’s been a regular starter every year he’s put on the blue and white.

He said that his role as a mentor and adviser, to eventually leave the program in the hands of the other players, is very clear.

“They know what’s going on, and they’re excited as well, because they know they’ve got a lot of opportunities in front of them,” Baker said.

For the rest of Media Day, he raved over the young receiver core’s route-running, “shifty” abilities, and his own big-play ability down the sidelines.

“If I’m thinking about my injury too much, I’m going to fear everything about it,” Baker said. “I’ve just got to go out there and play like nothing happened. That’s what I’ve been doing, and I’m going to continue to do that.”

As Cats fans wait with bated breath to see if Baker will suit up for the first time since the 2016-17 season, Baker is busy preparing himself and the younger receivers to have a season as explosive as their team.