The first piece of that puzzle came on Auburn’s A-Day weekend when four-star offensive tackle Bailey Sharp committed to the Tigers, fulfilling a lifelong dream of playing his college football on the Plains. A physical player that has the skills to be an early contributor if needed on the next level, Sharp said he can still remember the day everything changed for him, the day he got the offer from Malzahn.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Sharp said. “I have been an Auburn fan for a long time. When I went into recruiting I told myself that I was going to put being an Auburn fan behind me. I was going to look at all these colleges and what they have to offer and compare and contrast everything and every school I go to.
“After reviewing schools and going to Auburn a couple of times, I was pretty impressed by Auburn. One day I was there with my dad, we were sitting in Coach Malzahn’s office and he told me I had an offer from Auburn University. Just him saying that made dreams come true. It was such an awesome experience to have.”
Sharp was excited about his commitment to the Tigers
While Malzahn was a big part of the decision-making process for Sharp, just as important were his thoughts on Grimes. His future position coach and a veteran of coaching the position in the Southeastern Conference, Grimes was a big reason why Greg Robinson wound up a first round pick in the NFL Draft this year. That success of sending guys to the next level is something that was important to Sharp, but just as important was his feelings on Grimes the man.
“He was a strong impact for me too because I have been to a lot of schools and there were a lot of high energy offensive line coaches, but he was the only one that made me laugh too,” Sharp said. “I was watching a practice and he was chewing out one of his players for having their feet slightly wider than they should have been. Then 15 minutes later he was making the whole team laugh.
“Football gets tough sometimes and it’s tough to have someone yell at you every day. For someone to make you laugh every once in a while, it makes you want to come back and go through practice. Another thing is that Coach Grimes has sent 60 offensive linemen to the NFL. I’m pretty sure not many offensive line coaches can say that. That’s just such as amazing feat and to be able to be coached by a guy like that is such an honor and a blessing.”
Before Sharp gets the opportunity to play for Grimes and Malzahn, he has plenty of business to take care of first. Heading into his senior season at Sprayberry High, Sharp is hoping to be one of the keys to turning around the program in 2014. Opening up at South Paulding High on Friday night, Sharp said that he’s pumped up about getting a chance to play with his teammates one more season before heading to Auburn.
“I’m excited,” Sharp said. “I cannot wait. Me and my team have just been grinding since January, going through the waits and conditioning very hard. I think my team and I are really ready for this football season.”
Currently 6-5, 290, Sharp is plenty big enough to be ready for life in the SEC when he gets to Auburn next fall. Constantly working and striving for improvement, he said the goal for him is always bigger and better and that won’t change even during the season.
“I’m going to try to work on my strength and conditioning more than anything,” Sharp said. “I just feel like that’s my weakness. I feel like I have good max numbers for bench, squat and power clean, but I don’t think they’re enough. I’m just trying to get in shape for the next level of college football.”