“I want to sign with BYU because they are all-around perfect fit for me and my standards and what I want to do with my life,” Baker said. “They have the major I want to study and ever since my first day of football, all I could dream about was playing football for BYU. I also love what Coach Sitake and his staff are doing to the program. I see nothing but good things in the future with this program.”
Another reason Tanner Baker signed his National Letter of Intent today is because he feels it is a special place to be on a social and spiritual level, which makes the environment hard to beat.
“BYU is a special place,” he said. “What makes it different for me is that I am always surrounded by people that believe the same things I believe. It's nice to know that the people around me are always going to push me to become a better person on and off the field.”
Then there is the relatable aspect found between coach and player. Baker feels because of his beliefs he will always be on the same page as his coaches who will support him in his decisions.
“The fact that most of the coaches share the same beliefs I do makes the Y that much more of a special place,” Baker said. “I know that the coaches are behind me 100 percent on every decision I make.”
Having a common bond through the tenets of faith and belief brings down walls and bridges gaps that separate trust and loyalty. Baker loves this aspect about BYU coaches and how their faith places an emphasis on stewardship up their shoulders when it comes to taking care of those that choose to be under the coaching staff’s care.
“What I like about the BYU coaches is that you can tell that they take and interest into who you actually are outside of the game and work on making you a better man,” Baker said. “And that alone makes them great, great man and great mentors. For me I can tell they're great coaches just based on the fact that it was their first year in the program and they had so much success. That just shows you that they know what they're doing and they're only going to get better.”
What Tanner Baker is looking forward the most at BYU is finally being able to play at his dream school in LaVell Edwards Stadium. He’s also looking forward to college life.
“What I'm most looking forward to a BYU is finally getting on the field to play some football, because for me I haven't played since last November,” Baker said. “That's a long time without football. I'm also very excited to get to know the players and other students on campus. I'm excited to also begin my studies in economics so that I can finally see what I want to do after college.”
When it comes to the man who will be his offensive coordinator, Baker couldn’t say enough. He’s excited to play in an offense that will once again feature prominently the tight end position.
“One thing I love about Coach Detmer's offense is that he's trying to bring back the tight end position back to how it used to be at the Y,” said Baker. “I feel like with his goal of bringing that position back that will put me in a better spot to be able to become the best possible player I could be. I know he likes the tight ends because my grandpa and I would sit down and watch Coach Detmer's games when he was playing, and you could tell he liked a good solid tight end to be able to throw to.”
On November 3, 2016, Tanner Baker’s father, Robert Michael Baker, suddenly passed away at the age 49 in Norfolk, Virginia. He served four years in the United States Army as a combat medic prior to serving a two-year LDS mission in Taiwan. His son Tanner Baker believes that when he signs his NLI he’ll be making his father Robert a proud man.
“I know it means a lot to my dad for me to play football at BYU,” said Tanner Baker. “Not only did he think it was a great program to play for but a great school to attend. To my dad academics is a priority and he knew that BYU gave me a great academic opportunity.
“My dad has always been a huge inspiration in my life. Now that he's passed away he's that much more of an inspiration because all I want to do is make him proud and become half the man he was. And that is going to push me to being the best I can possibly be. It was nice knowing that whatever I do on or off the field he is watching and guiding me through it all. My dad has always been there for me and I know he still is.”