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Baker with his parents Jeff and Christina
Photo by Julia Horn

Baker headed to Troy

By Michael Butler

Tallassee senior Jake Baker has made his college decision. He will be a Troy Trojan.

The all-state lineman and two-time state heavyweight champion wreslter signed to become a preferred walk-on on Friday.

"Preferred walk-on is really good," Baker said. "Last year, of just regular walk-ons, not preferred walk-ons, they had 90 tryout and picked three. Being a preferred walk-on, they already have a spot on the roster for me. I'm already on the team. I can work throughout the year and try to earn a scholarship."

Baker had the option to go to a school like Huntingdon where a football and wrestling option were available.

"We went and looked at Huntingdon a couple of weeks before I visited Troy. I liked both schools about equal. I spent a lot of time at Troy. My older brother (Drew) is a junior there. I really like the Troy campus. At Huntingdon, I liked the chance of wrestling and playing football. After wrestling, I had my mind made up that I want to just stick with football, so that's how I made my decision."

Baker's senior year was quite good at THS. He was selected as an all-state lineman by the Alabama Sportswriters Association on a team that made it to the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state playoffs, the deepest run since 1999. He also won his second state individual heavyweight title in wrestling on a Tallassee team that placed third overall in Class 1A-5A.

The two-time state wrestling champion

Baker played on both sides of the ball on the football field at Tallassee. He is not sure where he might fit in with coach Neal Brown's team at Troy.

"I went to a camp last summer and was with the offensive line. I've also been told that they may put me at defensive line."

Baker says he prefers the offensive side of the ball.

"I played there four years in high school and always liked it."

On Neal Brown, Baker likes what he sees.

"He talked with us at the camp. I really like him. I like the way he coaches and does things. I'm looking to playing for him. He's got a good thing going."

In Brown's second season last year, the Trojans went 10-3. It was the first ten-win season since Troy's move up to FBS.

At 6-1/295, there is still room to grow for Baker, believe it or not.

"I'm pretty positive they'll put a little weight on me. I'm sure I'll get around the 300 mark or a little over it."

Baker's work in the weight room has paid off. His last bench press was 355 pounds. His lift on the squat maxes at about 490 pounds. He works out with teammates and Faulkner signees Brady Hancock and Logan Goodman every morning at 7:30.

"I look forward to that every morning. We go up there and hit the weight room for about 45 minutes every day."

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