Aliquippa star Jonathan Baldwin has major scholarship offers in football and basketball, but the ultra-talented athlete plans to wait out the recruiting process before deciding sport which to play in college.
“I’m probably going to make my decision based on how productive I am at both sports this year,” Baldwin said.
Football appears to offer the brightest future, as Baldwin possesses 27 offers, including such powerhouses as Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Southern Cal. Pitt also will be a player in his recruitment – his father, Jeffrey, played for the Panthers in the early 1980s – but Baldwin won’t make his decision based on that alone.
“Pitt’s always going to be up there near the top, but my dad going to Pitt doesn’t necessarily affect my decision,” Baldwin said. “Just because he went there doesn’t mean I have to go there, if I don’t want to. My parents are going to be on my side 100 percent, wherever I go. I’m the one who’s going to be spending four or five years there.”
The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Baldwin projects as a receiver at the next level. He has played tight end and defensive end at Aliquippa, the former out of necessity.
“We didn’t have anybody else to play tight end so they put me there because of my size,” Baldwin said. “But I’m built for wide receiver. I don’t want to play tight end. Some schools are recruiting me for tight end, but my coach let them know I’m strictly a wide receiver.”
Baldwin also is a three-year starter for Aliquippa’s two-time defending WPIAL Class AA champion basketball team, and Buffalo, Florida State, Marquette and Tennessee have offered the high-flier basketball scholarships.
Although Baldwin already is one of the WPIAL’s most heavily recruited players, his stock could soar after coaches learn that he placed third in PIAA in the 100-meter dash (11.03 seconds) and ran a leg on the Quips’ PIAA Class AA champion 400-meter relay team this past weekend. His times are even misleading, considering his raw technique.
“I’m still learning,” Baldwin said. “I’ve got to get a better start out of the blocks.”
Baldwin, who has a 3.35 grade-point average, says academics will play a major role in his decision.
“That’s the first thing. After football, I want to get a great job,” said Baldwin, who will likely make a late decision. “I haven’t even been thinking about the schools and stuff. I’ve got plenty of time. I’ve still got to finish 11th grade.”