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Perry Baker is taking a contract with the 7s National Team at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., it sounds like. The video at the bottom of this article hints very strongly that Baker, who was at the first camp after the hiring of Mike Friday and Chris Brown as 7s Eagles head and assistant coaches, respectively, is moving to the OTC.
Baker has years of experience dabbling in rugby, and he made his debut on the national stage playing for Daytona at Club 7s Nationals in 2011. But it wasn’t until he began working with Tiger, and moved to Tiger’s full-time training facility in Columbus, Ohio, that Baker’s stock really began to rise.
As a former DI wide receiver and NFL hopeful, he was signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent but didn’t make the squad following an injury, Baker sprinkled in a couple of seasons in the Arena Football League, as he attests to in the video. Then he committed fully to rugby.
While Tiger has been, along with the Northeast Olympic Development Academy, the most active non-USA Rugby funded 7s setup in the nation the last few years, until Baker, they’ve not plucked anyone from relative obscurity, developed them and put them on the National Team.
Baker has always been a try-scoring machine, who might not have the straight-away speed of Carlin Isles, but is an equally elusive runner. But it's his tackling and handling skills that Tiger has helped develop, and if they are good enough to get him in a 12-man squad, he and Isles could become a dynamic duo, either on the field together or spelling each other.
Under coaches previous to Friday, Isles was oft used in a closing role in the second half. If Baker is on the team along with Isles, the Eagles could have a starter and a closer, both of whom being talents the world of 7s has never seen before.
Baker’s signing is a testament to his hard work and perseverance, the work of his earlier coach, Brian Richardson, and the development abilities of Tiger.