Snapshot: Dallas Baker

The Steelers believe they found a sleeper in the seventh round in Dallas Baker, who was the leading receiver for the national champion Florida Gators last season. After a month, Baker sees a similar championship atmosphere with the Steelers.

When Dallas Baker was a six-year-old prospect in Pop Warner football, the public address announcer couldn't help but call him "Dallas Baker The Touchdown Maker."

"And every year in Pop Warner games," Baker said, "he was the announcer and he kept calling me that and it grew with me all the way to high school."

Baker didn't know it at the time, but an NFL player, Stephen Baker, was the noted "Touchdown Maker," and he, all 5-foot-8, 160 pounds, was in the midst of his greatest touchdown-making season.

Stephen Baker came into the league with his nickname and scored seven touchdowns for the New York Giants in 1988. He played six NFL seasons and scored 21 touchdowns, or slightly below the acceptable line for carrying such a nickname – or so it was thought at the time.

Dallas Baker had never heard of Stephen Baker until he was told the story a few weeks ago at his first minicamp with the Pittsburgh Steelers. As noted, the nickname was bigger than either Stephen Baker or his accomplishments, but Dallas wasn't about to knock either.

"Well, I can't say I hope anything like that doesn't happen to me," he said. "He was fortunate to play six years in the NFL and I haven't even played a down."

Baker scored 21 touchdowns at the University of Florida, including the one that kick-started the Gators to their romp over Ohio State in the national title game last January. His next touchdown wouldn't occur until the last practice of his first minicamp, when Baker beat veteran cornerback Ricardo Colclough down the field and then had to contort his body to catch the high and wide pass that was behind him. The 6-3, 206-pound Baker caught the pass and easily stepped into the end zone as "The Touchdown Maker."

When the play was brought up later in the locker room, Baker appeared almost embarrassed and his response was made in a hush.

"It doesn't matter," he said. "I don't think of that as a touchdown at all. That's what you're expected to do in practice, make plays so you can make this team. It's not a touchdown till they announce it."

Baker was asked about his overall performance at the minicamp.

"I think it went well but I feel like a freshman all over again," he said. "You're trying to learn a whole new playbook, you're all over the place, you're lost. But I wouldn't say it was too rough. I'm just trying to keep up the best I can."

Baker's freshman season was 2002. He'd spent a year in a junior college after coming out of New Smyrna Beach (Fla.) High School as a SuperPrep All-America. He was Central Florida's Player of the Year after catching 68 passes and scoring 16 touchdowns. He then scored 13 touchdowns in JC, but sat out the 2002 season at Florida with a redshirt.

In 2003, as a redshirt freshman, he scored only one touchdown, and that came in the Outback Bowl against Iowa. "I scored twice but one got called back," Baker said of the game. "It was the last game of the season and it got me excited about next season."

In 2004, Baker emerged to make 26 catches for 410 yards (15.8 avg.) and five touchdowns. He had started three games and was a regular on the kickoff coverage team.

"My redshirt sophomore year is when I started feeling confident," he said. "I had to redshirt my freshman year because, like I said, I was lost all over the place, didn't know the plays."

His junior year – the first in new Coach Urban Meyer's spread offense -- was the breakout year. Baker started 11 games for Florida and was second on the team with 52 catches for 697 yards (13.4) and five touchdowns.

At that point, Baker was not only becoming a team leader, but his teammates had revived his childhood nickname. He was the MVP of the Outback Bowl with 10 catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns, and in 2006 Baker led the team with 10 scores. He was named first-team All-SEC by the league's coaches and led the Gators with 920 receiving yards on 60 catches (15.3).

Baker comes to the Steelers as a tall red-zone threat with big, soft hands and, according to scouts, "deceptive strength." He has a history of playing best in the biggest games and at the biggest moments, but slipped to the seventh round of the draft because of his age (25 in November), thin build, and 4.6 40 time.

As he explained the day the Steelers drafted him, Baker is the nephew of Cleveland Browns WR coach Wes Chandler, who starred as a player for the San Diego Chargers. Yet, Baker was named Dallas by his father, an ardent Dallas Cowboys fan.

Baker was asked about the difficult adjustment to the pro level and his perception of his current surroundings.

"Oh, the toughest part is learning the playbook," he said. "I mean, you've got to know the playbook before you can even think to make the team. You've got to start from the basics.

"But it's a great team atmosphere. Now I understand why they won the Super Bowl. The vets take time out to help the rookies, and also they make you feel like you're family."

Was that the atmosphere at Florida?

"Oh, yeah. I was telling somebody earlier that I felt like I'm back at the University of Florida but on a higher level. It's a team atmosphere, and I have Max Starks here. But, yeah, it's similar to Florida with the way the players come in and work no matter what the condition is. It's just a great team to be a part of."

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\r\n\r\n\r\nWhen Dallas Baker was a six-year-old prospect in Pop Warner football, the public address announcer couldn't help but call him \"Dallas Baker The Touchdown Maker.\" \r\n\r\n

\"And every year in Pop Warner games,\" Baker said, \"he was the announcer and he kept calling me that and it grew with me all the way to high school.\" \r\n\r\n

Baker didn't know it at the time, but an NFL player, Stephen Baker, was the noted \"Touchdown Maker,\" and he, all 5-foot-8, 160 pounds, was in the midst of his greatest touchdown-making season. \r\n\r\n

Stephen Baker came into the league with his nickname and scored seven touchdowns for the New York Giants in 1988. He played six NFL seasons and scored 21 touchdowns, or slightly below the acceptable line for carrying such a nickname – or so it was thought at the time. \r\n\r\n

Dallas Baker had never heard of Stephen Baker until he was told the story a few weeks ago at his first minicamp with the Pittsburgh Steelers. As noted, the nickname was bigger than either Stephen Baker or his accomplishments, but Dallas wasn't about to knock either. \r\n\r\n

\"Well, I can't say I hope anything like that doesn't happen to me,\" he said. \"He was fortunate to play six years in the NFL and I haven't even played a down.\" \r\n\r\n

Baker scored 21 touchdowns at the University of Florida, including the one that kick-started the Gators to their romp over Ohio State in the national title game last January. His next touchdown wouldn't occur until the last practice of his first minicamp, when Baker beat veteran cornerback Ricardo Colclough down the field and then had to contort his body to catch the high and wide pass that was behind him. The 6-3, 206-pound Baker caught the pass and easily stepped into the end zone as \"The Touchdown Maker.\" \r\n\r\n

When the play was brought up later in the locker room, Baker appeared almost embarrassed and his response was made in a hush. \r\n\r\n

\"It doesn't matter,\" he said. \"I don't think of that as a touchdown at all. That's what you're expected to do in practice, make plays so you can make this team. It's not a touchdown till they announce it.\" \r\n\r\n

Baker was asked about his overall performance at the minicamp. \r\n\r\n

\"I think it went well but I feel like a freshman all over again,\" he said. \"You're trying to learn a whole new playbook, you're all over the place, you're lost. But I wouldn't say it was too rough. I'm just trying to keep up the best I can.\" \r\n\r\n

Baker's freshman season was 2002. He'd spent a year in a junior college after coming out of New Smyrna Beach (Fla.) High School as a SuperPrep All-America. He was Central Florida's Player of the Year after catching 68 passes and scoring 16 touchdowns. He then scored 13 touchdowns in JC, but sat out the 2002 season at Florida with a redshirt. \r\n\r\n

In 2003, as a redshirt freshman, he scored only one touchdown, and that came in the Outback Bowl against Iowa. \r\n\r\n\"I scored twice but one got called back,\" Baker said of the game. \"It was the last game of the season and it got me excited about next season.\" \r\n\r\n

In 2004, Baker emerged to make 26 catches for 410 yards (15.8 avg.) and five touchdowns. He had started three games and was a regular on the kickoff coverage team. \r\n\r\n

\"My redshirt sophomore year is when I started feeling confident,\" he said. \"I had to redshirt my freshman year because, like I said, I was lost all over the place, didn't know the plays.\" \r\n\r\n

His junior year – the first in new Coach Urban Meyer's spread offense -- was the breakout year. Baker started 11 games for Florida and was second on the team with 52 catches for 697 yards (13.4) and five touchdowns. \r\n\r\n

At that point, Baker was not only becoming a team leader, but his teammates had revived his childhood nickname. He was the MVP of the Outback Bowl with 10 catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns, and in 2006 Baker led the team with 10 scores. He was named first-team All-SEC by the league's coaches and led the Gators with 920 receiving yards on 60 catches (15.3). \r\n\r\n

Baker comes to the Steelers as a tall red-zone threat with big, soft hands and, according to scouts, \"deceptive strength.\" He has a history of playing best in the biggest games and at the biggest moments, but slipped to the seventh round of the draft because of his age (25 in November), thin build, and 4.6 40 time. \r\n\r\n

As he explained the day the Steelers drafted him, Baker is the nephew of Cleveland Browns WR coach Wes Chandler, who starred as a player for the San Diego Chargers. Yet, Baker was named Dallas by his father, an ardent Dallas Cowboys fan. \r\n\r\n

Baker was asked about the difficult adjustment to the pro level and his perception of his current surroundings. \r\n\r\n

\"Oh, the toughest part is learning the playbook,\" he said. \"I mean, you've got to know the playbook before you can even think to make the team. You've got to start from the basics. \r\n\r\n

\"But it's a great team atmosphere. Now I understand why they won the Super Bowl. The vets take time out to help the rookies, and also they make you feel like you're family.\" \r\n\r\n

Was that the atmosphere at Florida? \r\n\r\n

\"Oh, yeah. I was telling somebody earlier that I felt like I'm back at the University of Florida but on a higher level. It's a team atmosphere, and I have Max Starks here. But, yeah, it's similar to Florida with the way the players come in and work no matter what the condition is. It's just a great team to be a part of.\" \r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" ","skipOnMobile":true,"media":[],"dateOverride":"2007-05-22T06:07:00","authorOverride":"Jim Wexell","role":"SteelCityInsider.com","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:432788]","mainImage":{},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:432788]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"592","name":"Florida"},{"id":"10026","name":"Florida - Football"},{"id":"182","name":"Pittsburgh Steelers"}],"nodes":["3129814","99","739"],"isActive":true,"inActiveAndMemberHasPublishRights":false,"createdOn":"2007-05-22T06:15:50.997","createdById":"166721","modifiedOn":"2014-07-06T00:16:28.233","modifiedBy":"51458","imgs":[],"viewStats":[{"from":"2015-04-10T04:00:00","to":"2015-04-10T05:00:00","count":4},{"from":"2015-04-10T11:00:00","to":"2015-04-10T12:00:00","count":8},{"from":"2015-04-10T20:00:00","to":"2015-04-10T21:00:00","count":4},{"from":"2015-04-10T22:00:00","to":"2015-04-10T23:00:00","count":4},{"from":"2015-04-11T15:00:00","to":"2015-04-11T16:00:00","count":4},{"from":"2015-04-12T04:00:00","to":"2015-04-12T05:00:00","count":4},{"from":"2015-06-21T20:00:00","to":"2015-06-21T21:00:00","count":4},{"from":"2015-07-28T08:00:00","to":"2015-07-28T09:00:00","count":4},{"from":"2015-10-31T12:00:00","to":"2015-10-31T13:00:00","count":1},{"from":"2015-11-01T07:00:00","to":"2015-11-01T08:00:00","count":1},{"from":"2015-11-24T00:00:00","to":"2015-11-24T01:00:00","count":2},{"from":"2016-05-28T16:00:00","to":"2016-05-28T17:00:00","count":8}],"hasVideo":false,"brandUnsafe":false,"breakingNews":false},"editorsChoice":{"siteUrls":["http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1644408-long-may-heath-run?preview=true","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1626251-ups-and-downs-shazier-playcaller?preview=true","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1614465-qa-peezy-deebo?preview=true"],"networkUrls":["http://www.scout.com/military/warrior/story/1673294-memorial-day-honor-remember","http://www.scout.com/military/warrior/story/1672692-medal-of-honor-recipient-book-details-war","http://www.scout.com/get2thegame/story/1634413-get2thegame-de-aaron-fox","http://www.scout.com/fantasy/story/1672373-5-fantasy-qbs-you-really-dont-want-2016","http://www.scout.com/college/basketball/recruiting/story/1672518-biggest-impact-freshman-per-conference","http://www.scout.com/outdoors/kayak-fishing/story/1672369-how-film-your-next-fishing-trip-pro"],"pinnedStory":"http://www.scout.com/story/1672716-kick-great-summer-scout","topRibbonWidgets":[],"carouselStoryUrls":["http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1673190-spring-16-ota-3","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1672949-spring-16-ota-2","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1672643-spring-16-ota-1","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1671960-otas-hope-springs-eternal","http://www.scout.com/fantasy/story/1671282-2016-pittsburgh-steelers-team-outlook?s=68"],"storyStreamUrls":[],"storyStreamBlacklistUrls":[],"videoStories":[{"type":"StorySummary","containerType":"StorySummary","id":"1673190","siteId":"68","isPublicSite":true,"subdomain":"pit","canonicalUrl":"http://pit.scout.com/story/1673190-spring-16-ota-3","shortUrl":"http://pit.scout.com/story/1673190-spring-16-ota-3","siteName":"Steel City Insider","forumName":"","friendlySubdomain":"Pittsburgh","title":"Spring '16: OTA 3","subtitle":"","seotitle":"Antonio Brown showed up to practice with the Pittsburgh Steelers ","caption":"","deck":"Find out what happened when A.B. challenged Artie Burns, and read the scouting report on new quarterback Dustin Vaughan. 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