Baker takes bite out of competition

Tustin's Sam Baker is a big guy. At 6-5 and 315-pounds, there aren't a lot of people that match up to him...until he gets home. When your Mom is 6-foot, your Dad is 6-9, 420 and brother is 6-7 and 350 pounds, there's only one thing in Baker's life that gets a harder workout than he does during football season - the refrigerator.

"Empty," Sam told with a big laugh yesterday in regards to the fridge. "It's always empty." Something tells me that it doesn't stay that way for long.

Sam plays both ways for Tustin, but prefers defense. "I'm getting recruited at offense, but I like defense better," he said. "On offense you get hit...on defense you get to hit people." Coaches love his combination of size and agility. "The college coaches like that I can pull real well. I'm pretty mobile for how big I am. I can move along the line and make blocks downfield. Our team runs the double-wing, and we just run pitch. That's all we run pretty much all game. We just pound teams. I just like hitting people, taking it to 'em...battling them."

Baker runs a 5.2 40, benches 370 pounds, squats 530 and cleans 320 pounds. Last year as a junior, Sam earned all-league, all-CIF, all-county and all-state underclass honors. When it comes to football, Sam admits to having a Jeckyl and Hyde personality. "I'm two different people on and off the field," he said. "On the field I'm really intense but off the field I'm light. I'll make jokes and stuff, but when I'm in the game I have a different attitude."

When it comes to recruiting, Sam has two schools he's looking at very closely. "USC and Florida are recruiting me the hardest," he said. "They are my top two. And then Washington, LSU and Oregon." He knows he'll be visiting his top two for sure, but isn't too worried about the details just yet. "I'll probably go through the whole process, make sure I make a good decision. I'm trying to focus more on the season coming up than recruiting right now."

Baker remembers the conversation he had with Washington Head Coach Rick Neuheisel back in May. "Coach Neuheisel called me during the recruiting period," he said. "Actually I was talking to the coach from Washington State (Mike Price). We had talked for about a half-hour, and then Coach Neuheisel called on the other line. That was kind of weird. It was cool talking to him though."

So why the interest in the Dawgs? "They are winners," Sam said, simply. "I remember two years ago when they beat Miami. That's when I really started to notice them."

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