Matt Baker - Colleges and Recruiting Reporter

Colleges and Recruiting Reporter

I love college football more than everything but my son, my wife and my dog, so I have the perfect job covering the sport for the Tampa Bay Times. Even though I grew up in a basketball state (Indiana) and graduated from a non-football power (Northwestern University), I’m fascinated by the game, the traditions and the pageantry. I joined the Times in July 2011 after stops at the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader and Tulsa (Okla.) World. Since then, I’ve covered almost everything — high schools, the Bucs, the Rays, the Lightning and auto racing — before becoming a full-time college sports reporter before the 2015. When I’m not working, I’m usually on a run, chasing a toddler around and waiting for kickoff.

  1. Florida Gators running back Trevor Etienne had a strong freshman season and scored the go-ahead touchdown against USF.
  2. Florida State will play in Ireland in 2024, just as Northwestern did against Nebraska last season.
  3. The Gators are among the teams we'll dig into in our new newsletter, Florida Football Fix.
  4. Florida Gators defensive coordinator Austin Armstrong meets with reporters during spring practice in 2023.
  5. USF announced the firing of men's basketball coach Brian Gregory on Friday.
  6. Florida State offensive coordinator Alex Atkins talks with reporters before the start of the Seminoles' 2023 spring football practice.
  7. USF football coach Alex Golesh has thoughts on a proposed football operations center for the Bulls.
  8. This old rendering of USF's proposed on-campus stadium will soon be obsolete. The Bulls are formally starting the $22 million design phase.
  9. This 2022 rendering by OSPORTS shows what USF's athletics district might look like with the addition of an on-campus stadium.
  10. IndyCar Series driver Marcus Ericsson celebrates his win on Sunday in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
  11. Nikita Johnson, seen here in a portrait photograph before the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, earned his first USF2000 win Sunday.
  12. Florida Gators coach Billy Napier meets with reporters after the first spring practice of 2023.
  13. Fans watch IndyCar practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Friday. The 27 entrants for Sunday's race will be the most in Grand Prix history.
  14. Jared Verse and the Seminoles are poised to build on their breakthrough 2022 season.
  15. Scott McLaughlin earned his first IndyCar Series win at last year's Grand Prix.
  16. Firestone has made greener tires made from the guayule desert shrub for the IndyCar Series. They'll appear in five races this year, including the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
  17. The IndyCar Series returns this week for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
  18. Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart competed at the 2022 NHRA Nevada Nationals and will be racing in Gainesville in March.
  19. Nikita Johnson, 14, will be the youngest competitor at this week's Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
  20. The Florida Gators have hired the youngest defensive coordinator in the nation.
  21. IndyCar driver Romain Grosjean, seen here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, strongly considered becoming a St. Petersburg resident.
  22. The Florida State Seminoles are one of the biggest brands in the ACC. But something needs to change.
  23. LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam will have a role at next week's Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersbrg.