Hidden Jewel?

Tyler Baker

Tyler Baker has been somewhat obscured in the Texas private school ranks, but his worksheet is remarkable. He'll join the Rebel football squad in June.


That's the only way to describe the numbers Tyler Baker put up at The Brook Hill School in Bullard, TX, during his four-year career.

Baker, a 5-10, 188-pound QB/SS/WR/PR/KOR, knew one thing when he was on the football field - how to score.

In his four years on the gridiron, Baker scored seven different ways - rushing, passing, receiving, punt return, kickoff return, fumble return and interception return - and accounted for 134 touchdowns in his career, including 63 rushing.


Tyler, who ran an electronically timed 4.46 40, has a 35-inch vertical and benches 275 pounds, rushed for over 4,000 yards, passed for over 5,000 yards and had 19 interceptions in a four-year career where he was named All-State four times on defense and three times on offense.


In leading his team to the state championship game as a senior, Tyler played with a bad case of flu in a losing cause and was still named the game's Most Valuable Player. He had to be hospitalized after the game.


Despite the almost-silly numbers, Baker was not highly-sought in the recruiting wars, but it's not like he was completely off the radar either.

"I had some Sunbelt Conference offers and Army and Navy wanted me, but I want to play in the best conference in America and that's the SEC," said Tyler, who has a 3.26 GPA at Brook Hill, a college prep school, and registered a 1600 on his SATs the only time he's taken it.

While scouring the country looking for players who might have flown under the radar, the Ole Miss coaches came across Baker and invited him for a visit last weekend.

Baker found a home away from home even though the Rebels did not have a scholarship to give him.

"I loved Ole Miss on my visit. It's me. I wanted to be a part of that team," said Baker, who also has all-state credentials in hoops as a point guard. "The coaches were straight up with me. All I want is an opportunity.

"I can't wait to compete. I can't wait for the opportunity to play with and against guys who as athletic as the guys in the SEC are. I am honored to be a part of it."

Baker will have to hang up his QB cleats, though. The Rebs have other plans for him.

"They want me to play slot receiver, keep working in the return game and possibly give me a look at the Wild Rebel since I ran the zone read in high school and that's right up my alley," said Baker. "The coaches told me they brought a JUCO guy in for returns so it would probably be a while before I got a real shot there, but I can understudy to Philander (Moore) and when he leaves, maybe I can earn those spots."

From quarterback to receiver is not a major stretch, but what about his hands?

"Receiver, I think, is my natural position. I have a lot of confidence in my hands. I played quarterback in high school because the coaches wanted the ball in my hands, but I can catch, I have no doubts about that," he stated.

Baker knows what he's up against - coming from an environment where he is the big fish to one where he has to start from scratch against like-quality athletes - but he's more than willing.

"I have a good work ethic. My plan is to come in and work harder and work smarter and make a place for myself," Baker added. "I believe one of my assets is my mind and I will do everything I can to utilize every skill I have.

"I'm not afraid of the challenge or the competition."

Obviously, his coach at Brook Hill, Terry Pirtle, thinks highly of Baker.

"Tyler's scholastic ability and leadership ability are what helps him separate himself and in my opinion gives him a great edge on other athletes wanting to compete at the collegiate level. He was a unanimous choice as football captain as a junior for us," noted Pirtle. "His classroom capabilities are evident on his transcript. He is a top notch student and very well rounded. He is a major player on The Brook Hill School basketball team, as well as track.

"I feel Tyler Baker would be a great addition to Ole Miss. He has the drive, determination and work ethic that is second to none. He will be a leader in the weight room, classroom and on the field. He's a winner."

Baker will enroll at Ole Miss in June and will be one of the 105 players who will go through all of August practice as the fall campaign begins.

Tyler Baker - one to keep an eye on.

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