May 13, 2010

Decision day for talented defensive end

JEFFERSON - East Hall's Sterling Bailey only competed in the shot put during Thursday's first day of the state track meet.

But he was obviously having a good time.

Bailey, who will announce his college choice Friday at 6:30 p.m., joked with coaches and spectators between throws teasing some with a couple of "Gator chomps."

Yes, Florida is one of the 21 schools listed in Bailey's profile to have offered the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder, but the wink and grin he gave one bystander seemed to indicate he was just playing around.

Time will tell.

Bailey said he has already informed the lucky team of his decision.

"When I first told them, they had guys so excited they could hardly stand it," said Bailey, who finished sixth in the Class shot put with a throw of 48-4. "They were so happy that I was going to be a part of their family. You see the smiles on all their faces."

So who will it be?

Along with Florida, schools like Southern Cal, Notre Dame, Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech will be waiting to hear.

Then, there's Georgia.

"Of course, I was looking at academics and playing time, but I was also looking at the connection with the coaches, the atmosphere and do I feel comfortable being down there with all that's going on," Bailey said. "I think I've found that place."

Bailey had kind words for Georgia coach Mark Richt and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who paid a visit to East Hall just three days after arriving in Athens from his former job with the Dallas Cowboys.

The weakside defensive end laughed about that first meeting with Grantham at his school.

"I was just getting out of school and he was walking around out back because he couldn't find the gym," Bailey laughed. "He said 'I'm looking for Sterling Bailey.' I said that's me, and he was like 'Wow.'"

The introductions didn't stop there.

"He asked me if I knew who he was. At first I didn't, but after I looked him up and realized he had been with the Dallas Cowboys, and who he coached I was very impressed that they would send him after he had only been at Georgia for three days to come to talk to me," Bailey said. "I really felt the love."

Bailey laughed that he's also felt the love from recent commit Christian LeMay, the North Carolina quarterback who recently pledged to Georgia.

Shortly after LeMay announced he was picking the Bulldogs as his leader, he was on the phone with Bailey, whom he met two months ago during a visit to Clemson.

"We were just talking at first I heard he was going to commit and he said 'Man, you going to commit to Georgia, right?' I said you just going to have to wait and see," Bailey said. "I told him I'd hate for him to be on the opposite side of the ball and have to hit him. He said, man, my offensive line wouldn't let that happen. I said, yeah, you know good and well that no offensive line can block me. We laughed and kicked it off from there and just talked about Georgia."

Bailey said he's glad to be getting his announcement out of the way.

The process, he admitted, has been a drain.

"My parents have asked me if I'm going to miss it. No, I'm not going to miss it because now I can be a regular high school teenager. I'm not going to have to worry about all these coaches calling me, text messages, emails and all that," he said. "Now, I can get this out of the way, just relax and enjoy my senior year."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!