AKRON – Anyone that had the privilege of seeing Tanner Andrews play for the Tippecanoe Valley Vikings over the past four years knows that the young man is as talented of an athlete that will ever walk the halls of the Akron high school.
In his time as a Viking, Andrews made an impact in every athletic season. He was a reliable player on both sides of the ball for the Vikings football team in the fall. He helped lead Valley on the hardwood in the winter and he has been a constant force for the baseball team over the past four years, serving as the team’s ace pitcher this past season.
His success on the gridiron attracted interest from the football team at Purdue University at first, and ultimately from the baseball team as well. After some hard thinking and a lot of praying, Andrews announced in January that he would be continuing his baseball career in West Lafayette, making the move official by signing-on in April.
“I was set on being a Boiler early on in high school,” Andrews stated. “I started looking at Purdue for football in my sophomore year. I really fell in love with the campus and just felt comfortable there. The only tough decision was deciding on playing football or baseball, but I knew I would end up at Purdue for one of the two.
“Ultimately, through a lot of prayer and discussion with my family, I knew baseball was the right choice for me. My family encouraged me to do what I would enjoy most, whether it was football, basketball or baseball, they just wanted me to do what I loved.”
Through the years at Valley, Andrews played for a total of five different coaches throughout his three sports. The future Boiler has plenty of great things to say about each of them in how they helped him along the way, but it was the coach that he saw outside of the walls of the school that helped him the most with the sport he loves.
“The coach that had the most influence on me was my summer ball coach, Ray Moon,” said Andrews. “Ray played professional baseball. He taught me how to play the game, and really everything that I know about it today.
“He pushed me to follow my dreams because he has always seen my full potential. He has told me since I was ten years old that I have the ability to go as far as I want with the game.”
Moon and Andrews clearly left an impression on one another. Anyone that has ever crossed paths with Andrews can speak volumes about the lasting impression he leaves. The man that will be spending the most time with Andrews in the coming years was no exception to this.
“He is just very respectful and his character is beyond reproach,” said Tristan McIntyre, Purdue’s pitching coach. “We were excited to get him, he seemed like a good fit for our program from the start.”[*** ERROR: Weaver X-Plus Shortcoder undefined id: 'spo-photo' *** ]
In today’s sports world it is uncommon to find a student-athlete that excels at three sports the way that Andrews did in his time at Valley. Andrews took on all three seasons and made impact every time he stepped foot on a playing surface, and that is just what Purdue loved about him.
“We loved seeing his talent in basketball and football,” McIntyre remarked. “By the time we get some of our recruits, they have already reached their potential. Kids like Tanner are not overused. His better days are ahead of him.”
It’s funny to think that there is an even grander journey ahead of Andrews, a student-athlete who found success seemingly everywhere in high school.
Andrews found as much success in the classroom as he did on the field of play. He earned numerous individual accolades, conference and sectional titles in both baseball and basketball.
Andrews said winning the baseball sectional in his sophomore season with his brother, Brody, was his greatest memory in his time at Valley. That special moment followed by countless other memories made up a very rare and exceptional prep career for a very rare and exceptional person.
Andrews made sure his interview did not end without thanking every teacher, coach and fan that has supported him during his time as a Viking.
Finding support will come easy for Andrews on Purdue’s friendly and inviting campus. From the Hello Walk, to fountain runs and the Grand Prix, West Lafayette holds plenty of memories to be made for the former Viking star.