As we continue to take a look at the participants of the Austin combine we look at the offensive…
OL Narrowing it Down
The Texas Tech coaching staff has known that Waco Connally OL Troy Baker is a perfect fit for the Red Raiders since he came to Lubbock for a camp last summer. Baker, who stands 6'6 ½" and weighs in at 285 pounds, has great feet, is a relentless blocker, and has the frame that Mike Leach loves in his big men up front. The coaches were so convinced of Baker's talent, in fact, that they extended a written offer to him on September 1, the first day allowed by NCAA rules. That confidence in his abilities made a big impression on Troy. "Tech was my lead off school from the beginning, and then they were the first ones to offer me. They actually verbally offered me last summer, and then I got a written offer from them the first week that I could." He gave a "soft" verbal commitment to the coaches, meaning that Texas Tech led for his services, but he still wanted to look around and weigh all of his options. But after months of visiting other schools, Baker says he still feels very loyal to the Red Raiders. "I'm committed to Texas Tech. If signing day were today, I would definitely sign with Tech. I just want to make sure that I'm making the right decision, and that's why I've been taking other visits." Oklahoma State and Baylor are the two other schools that have been high on Baker's list, and he has visited both schools to get a better idea of how they compare to Texas Tech. "I went to Oklahoma State's and Baylor's Junior Days. I liked both schools, but right now I am still feeling stronger for Tech." Two other schools have come onto Baker's radar lately- Missouri and UCLA. "Missouri offered me last week. I haven't talked to them too much, but I know that they must be pretty serious because they offered me even though they know that I'm committed to Tech. "UCLA is showing a lot of interest in me. The coaches have been sending me lots of handwritten letters, but they have not offered me at this point." Despite the big surge in recruitment interest lately, the Red Raiders are still definitely at the top of his list. "The huge thing that helped me make the decision to commit was that I went to the Texas/Texas Tech game last year. That got me really excited about Texas Tech; the whole atmosphere was just amazing. I also really like the school and the coaches, and I just feel like Tech is a good fit for me." Another factor working in the Red Raiders favor is all of the exposure Troy has had to the school and football program. "My brother went to Tech, which is what actually got me interested in them in the first place. Their fans are pretty unique and very enthusiastic for what many consider a small school. The campus is really nice and I also really like the town too. There's a lot to do in Lubbock." Mike Leach signing on for five more years also had a huge impact on Troy's decision to stick with the Red Raiders. "Coach Leach signing his extension was huge for me. I feel like he has pretty much made Texas Tech into the program that it is, and that's the program I want to be part of. If he hadn't signed the extension, then that definitely would have made me rethink my commitment." The Red Raiders' high octane offense is one that Baker says he can't wait to be a part of. "I'm definitely excited about playing in their offense. I mean, they're really fun to watch; I can't imagine how great it will be to play it. "Since Coach Moore has gotten there, they have been running the ball more and it's been more balanced. I just think their offense is amazing." Baker is confident in his abilities to adjust to D-I football and the Red Raiders' unique style of offense, which requires speed and athleticism from their big men on the line. "I think it will be pretty easy for me to pick up Texas Tech's offensive line scheme. I worked with Coach Moore a lot when I was there last summer, and we worked really well together. I'm going to have an extra spring because I am graduating in December, so that will help a lot too." While nothing is a guarantee in college recruiting, at this point Baker seems confident in his decision. Although he may take some more visits, we expect that he will be headed to Lubbock next January to join the Red Raider nation.
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