Players of the Pine Belt: Hattiesburg senior OL Elijah Baker

Players of the Pine Belt: Hattiesburg OL Elijah Baker.
Published: Aug. 13, 2023 at 12:25 AM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Elijah Baker said he wants to leave his mark on the Hattiesburg High School football program.

Earlier this summer, the senior elected to play college football right in his backyard, verbally committing to the University of Southern Mississippi.

As he preps for his final year with the Tigers, Baker said he knew he had to become a better leader for his fellow linemen and set the tone for the rest of the offense.

“Everybody was trying to be like me.” Baker said. “For me and my teammates. I’m working on getting stronger. I’m in the middle now, so I’m playing with bigger, stronger guys.”

Seeing the player he’s become is something that Tigers head coach Tony Vance said he has visualized for years.

“Anything we ask him to do, he just says ‘Yes sir, I got you coach,” Vance said. “Those are the types of kids you love.”

Aside from using his strength against defenders, the senior likes to make his teammates smile whenever he can.

“I also bring the comedy to the offensive line.” Baker said. “Me being a funny person, it makes my day to be able to smile, have everybody else laugh with me.

“At the same time, I’m still a powerful person in the middle.”

As the countdown to a new season inches closer, Baker said he isn’t holding back his excitement for kickoff.

“When I drag a guy 50 yards down field and I get up, and I see my quarterback in the end zone,” he said. “It brings a good feeling out of me.

“I bring pride, pride in that man.”

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