Madison Academy Lineman Leads Mustangs- Reese Baker Wants To “Win It All”
MADISON- According to Bob Godsey, head coach of the Madison Academy football program, his senior star lineman, Reese Baker, “Wants to be good. It is important to him to do it right.”
Baker, who has nicknames of “Viking” and “Thor,” because of his 6-foot-4, 275-pound physical size, has one motivation factor for the current 2023 season. “To win a state championship. We can be really good if we want to. There’s no question we can go all the way,” added Baker.
The Mustangs are currently undefeated after four games in the 2023 campaign with a top 10 ranking. Baker is a team co-captain and is the leader of the offensive line that Godsey said, “Are as good as I’ve ever coached.” The senior is in his fourth year as a starter for the team after actually joining the program for his freshman season as a tight end, but coaches saw something special about Baker’s natural athletic talent, which he also used as a basketball and baseball player prior to his decision to concentrate on football.
“I remember my first start as a freshman,” said Baker. “It was the season opening game against Scottsboro and I was really scared and nervous. I played well and when I pancaked this big guy for Scottsboro, I knew I could do this.”
Born in Huntsville to Randall and Wanda Baker, he is the youngest of five children in the Baker family. He weighed just over 11 pounds at birth and was so large some were afraid the young lad would die. He quickly grew up living in nearby Ardmore for 10 years before moving closer to Madison and joining the private school in the eighth grade. He currently carries a 3.6 grade point average and has plans of studying Kinesiology with his sights set on becoming a physical therapist.
Where he attends college is still a mystery, even to Baker. He has an assemblage of colleges looking at his football talent, but has not decided on where he wants to take his talents once graduating next May. The long list of schools showing lots of interest in his lineman skills include Auburn, MTSU, Appalachian State, Southern Miss, Army, SE Missouri State, Troy, Jacksonville State, UNA, Liberty, West Virginia and Tulane.
Baker was a First Team All-State selection a year ago and has been a part of 40 wins and 12 losses in his four years at Madison Academy. The Mustangs have made the playoffs in each of those years, but have come up just short of taking home a state title including a heartbreaking loss in the 2021 semi-finals. Last season, the horses were 5-6 overall, but lost its last five games on the season. Baker is looking at helping the squad to more winnings in this the 60th anniversary of the school’s first football team.
“Reese is an amazing talent as he is big, strong, fast and intelligent,” said Godsey of his prize offensive lineman. “The sky’s the limit for Reese. This team means everything to Reese and he means everything to this team.”
On the field, Baker has marvelous vision as on each play from his right tackle position he lines up looking over the field and seeing where each of the defenders are lined up. He added, “The college coaches tell me they love my feet, my long arms and that I carry my body weight well. For me, I feel I can throttle down when I need to, which helps me keep my balance. I believe my weakness is at times I become overly aggressive, and I do stupid things. I sometimes over launch and that allows the defense to get inside.”
In the weightroom, Baker is tops. He benches 315 pounds, has cleared 560 pounds in the deadlift and set a mark of over 400 pounds in the squat.
Baker is a busy senior football player, but makes time for his faith and his girlfriend, Valarie Sproul, a senior member of the Madison Academy cheer squad who has earned academic scholarships to attend college. Other talents Baker possesses includes being able to play the bass guitar. He’s self-taught on the guitar, but has taken lessons on being able to read music. He loves 80’s-90’s jazz/rock music and his favorite music band is Guns and Roses.
Having dirty-blond hair to shoulder length is sort of a trademark for the 17-year old Baker, but his demeanor is one of leadership and being in control. “As a leader, I let my teammates know when they’ve done something wrong or missed a block. I can get in their face when I need to,” said Baker. “I always hold everybody accountable, especially the young guys, as we get them out there. We can’t leave them behind. They’re going to be the future of our line. I help them with their footwork and pass blocking techniques. I want us to win it all.”