He once played at Moorpark High School, the same high school BYU tight end great Dennis Pitta once played at, located in California, Now, Tanner Baker plays out in the talent-rich fields of Georgia where he’ll be playing defensive end and tight end for 5A state champions Allatoona High School. Baker decided he no longer needed to wait. He had a scholarship from his dream school BYU, so why wait?
“I decided to make it official,” Baker said Saturday when reached for comment. “I decided to commit to BYU today! I am beyond excited. I haven’t been this happy in a long time about something! Coach Clark is in Fresno recruiting and he sounded really excited!”
BYU tight ends coach Steve Clark is out recruiting when he got the call from Tanner Baker. The news of him committing to BYU were very exciting.
“I called up Coach Clark about two hours ago and asked him if I could commit,” Baker said. “We had a great conversation about me coming up there and making sure my grades stay right. He sounded very excited, which was a lot of fun for me. He said that was the best phone call he’s gotten in awhile. He said, ‘Yes, we’d love to have you!’ and all that stuff. He was happy and so am I.”
As a result, BYU has received their second tight end commit for the 2017 class. Isaac Rex of San Clemente High School was the first tight end commit of the class now followed by Tanner Baker. He plans on graduating early so he can participate in spring camp next year at the college level prior to playing for a season.
“I’ve been thinking about graduating from high school early to get up to where I wanted to play,” Baker said. “That way I can get a head start. I was talking to my parents about it and we were thinking it would be better if I just locked up the scholarship earlier than later. That way I can make sure I can be where I want to be.
“I plan on graduating early and leaving high school in January. I want to be there for the spring semester and be there for spring ball. I want to play for a year and then go on my mission. That was the plan. I’m only 17 and turn 18 in November.”
His reasons are smart and very calculated. BYU has offered a few tight end prospects so locking one up now to ensure that opening will be there later is a good tactic.
“One because I wanted to play there and make sure I have a spot,” Baker said. “Secondly, I tore my ACL and I’m not sure if I’ll get many more offers, so I don’t think many more offers will be coming since I won’t be playing for a year. I just figured I should lock up my dream school.”
After Baker committed to Coach Clark he called up best friend, and fellow BYU tight end recruit, Bentley Hanshaw, to inform him of the news.
“I’m best friends with Bentley Hanshaw and called him up to tell him all about it right after I committed to BYU,” Baker said. “He was very excited for me. I’m trying to get him to come over and come play with me. I’m working on him. We’ll see how it plays out.”