NC State's Baker heads to NFL

NC State tailback Toney Baker, who was granted a sixth-year of eligibility by the NCAA, has decided not to return to NC State for the 2010 season, the school announced Tuesday.

“After talking to my family, my coaches and doing a lot of praying, I’ve decided that it’s time for me to pursue playing football at the next level,” said Baker, who graduated in December. “It was a tough decision because I have loved my time at NC State and have really enjoyed playing for coach [Tom] O’Brien. But after weighing all my options, I think this is the right move for me at this time in my life.”

Baker missed almost two complete seasons with a knee injury, but he made a big comeback in 2009, leading the team in rushing, ranking third in scoring and fourth in receiving. He finished the regular season ranked sixth in the ACC in rushing with 64.4 yards per game, ninth in all-purpose yards (94 per game) and tied for seventh in touchdown scoring (4.5 per game). He finished his career ranked 11th in school history with 17 career rushing touchdowns and 11th in rushing yards with 2,045.

“We support Toney in this decision and wish him great success,” O’Brien, who is on the road recruiting, said in a prepared statement. “He has been and will continue to be a great representative of NC State University and our football program.”