Nine of those players reportedly will be playing football while one will play baseball.
Baker has been a starting offensive lineman for the Tigers the past three years and his senior year was credited with 20 pancake blocks and allowing just one sack.
Head coach Jim Kremer called Baker “a gentle giant” who was as well liked off the field as he was unmovable on it.
“He’s one of your 300-pounders who’s got very good footwork and is very smart and unselfish,” the coach added.
Baker was praised by Kremer for his ability to get along with others as well as to move them along while keeping them out of mischief. “He was the prom king, and he’d give you the shirt off your back.”
The coach described Upshaw as the “go-to” guy offensively for Adairsville as a running back, accounting for 1,600 yards on the ground, 300 in pass yardage out of the backfield and scoring 15 touchdowns his senior year.
“We could count on Mike whether it was in the game or on the practice field,” Kremer added. “He’s also very likable and has come a long way.”
He said he expects Baker and Upshaw to do well at the next level, noting it’s important for all the former Tigers to “finish the drill” in college and prepare a welcome place for future Adairsville prospects.
“By finish the drill, I mean get a diploma,” he added.
The two Tigers are looking for different things through their signings.
Baker said he is pleased that football will be helping pay his way through college, adding he chose the Patriots after being recruited by several colleges. “I liked the college coaches and believe they will help me improve.”
He said he also liked the campus of the University of the Cumberlands, located in Williamsburg, Ky.
Baker said he has played football most of his life and enjoys the contact.
“When I was about 8, I have wanted to be able to hit people and get away with it,” he laughed.
That love of contact was supplemented by a desire to compete. “I like to start and being able to compete against upper classmen has helped my play.”
The lineman also learned about fighting back from injury, something that occurred about the sixth game of his junior year. “I had to work my way back,” he recalled, saying he was able to play the final game of the season as a junior.
Baker continued to work on his skills in the offseason, and by the time he started his senior season, he had won back his starting position.
“I got faster and stronger as the season went along,” he added. “It was a little tough, but we got through it.”
The lineman said he is glad to be taking his love of the game to the next level.
Upshaw, starting running back for Adairsville the past two years, said he is looking for Chatt Tech to help him develop his football skills and improve his academic achievements.
The running back said he initially was recruited by some four-year colleges, but his grades held him back and Chatt Tech became his school choice.
Upshaw, who stands almost 5 feet 8 inches and weighs 190, said his speed got him notice throughout his high school career.
He scored four touchdowns last year against Armuchee while scampering for 276 yards. The runner said the game stood out because of both his performance and that of his blockers. “I was really finding a lot of holes with the way my teammates were blocking for me.”
He said a season-ending loss to Fitzgerald, which came in the state playoffs, also caught his attention. “It made me realize I would miss football.”
Upshaw said he hopes Chatt Tech can point him toward a Division I college such as Tennessee or Tennessee Tech, both with more football skills and a broader academic background.
“I wish I’d done that in high school,” he said. “It looks a lot different with a lot of time on my hands.”
Ten of the 22-member senior class have now signed to take their preferred game to the next level, Kremer said, and that athleticism was just one of many qualities that contributed to the team’s success.
“We stress to our players that those other qualities help the team, too,” Kremer said. “Cody and Mike have bought into that and so have a lot of other players that, if they will be serving in their attitudes, they’ll be able to get anything they ever want.
“When you consider all those other attributes, this senior class of football players is probably the best class I’ve ever been associated with,” he said. “They play hard for one another and not just for themselves. They have worked well with the coaches on our staff and we became a tight family. They have been a pleasure to be around.”
Kremer added a lot of those players have started on long time plans for their lives, from a military career to academic goals. “About 18 of those 22 have a plan to move on, eventually, to a better life.”
The coach said the class has set the bar high for younger classmates who follow in their footsteps at Adairsville.
“We hope others follow in their steps, but the younger students have some big shoes to fill,” he added.
The athletes will play at various levels. Among them are Austin Harrell, who has signed with the Citadel, Trey Gulledge, Matt Pickle and Christian Howell, who all three signed with Kentucky Christian, and Cody Kremer, the former Tiger quarterback who signed to play baseball with the University of Georgia.
At least four former Adairsville football players have signed academic scholarships to such schools as Georgia and Georgia Tech.