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Baird commits to PSU.

Byline: Steve Mims The Register-Guard

Austin Baird is the latest in-state football recruit for Portland State.

The Marist senior made a verbal commitment last weekend to play for the Vikings in 2013.

"They were the first to offer me, and I went and visited them a couple times," Baird said. "I went to their junior day and knew I liked it a lot and knew I liked coach (Nigel) Burton a lot. They got a lot of top recruits last year, and they have a lot of good guys committing this year, so I said I want to be a Viking."

Baird caught 38 passes for 635 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior and also had 39 tackles and three interceptions. He said PSU recruited him as an athlete and told him that his best chance to get on the field early was as a receiver and returner.

Baird said he chose Portland State over Montana and Eastern Washington, and he also had offers from Northern Colorado and North Dakota.

Burton has focused on local recruits in the past year as Portland State's 2012 recruiting class featured 13 high school players from Oregon, including Marshfield's Dalton Milburn, Elmira's Kyle Smith and Sheldon's Kameron Canaday. Baird said he is going to try to recruit more local players to follow him to Portland.

"Coach Burton made the point that now it is my job to try and get other guys from around here and Washington to make the choice to go to PSU," Baird said. "It was a family atmosphere there, I felt like I was at home. No anxiety at all, it was a good fit."

Baird showed off his athleticism during his first track season in the spring when he won the Class 5A track and field title in the long jump with a mark of 22 feet, 5 inches and was second in the triple jump at 44-5 1/2.

With his college decision out of the way, Baird will focus on helping the Spartans repeat as Midwestern League champions. Marist opens the season with nonleague games at Bend, a state quarterfinalist last year, before hosting runner-up Sherwood. Marist will be among the state favorites with Baird and quarterback Kamerun Smith.

"We have a shot to do real well, and with Kam throwing me the ball it will be a lot of fun," Baird said. "I am excited to get after it."
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Title Annotation:Wire Sports; The senior caught 12 touchdowns last season for Marist
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:5JAMA
Date:Aug 17, 2012
Words:404
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