RECRUITING: Bailey Narrows It Down To Four

The premiere big linebacker in high school football for the 2006 season is 6-3, 245-pound Allen Bailey of Darien (GA) McIntosh County Academy. Bailey is ferocious hitter that finished his junior season with 128 tackles. He has attacked the recruiting process much like he goes after ball carriers and he's down to four schools that he says are all even.

(See Allen Bailey profile)

To say he plays with a mean streak on the field may be an understatement. Bailey makes ball carriers wish they hadn't showed up for the game. The on the field personality is quite the opposite of the quiet young man whose father is a ferry boat operator. He has spent the summer getting ready for the upcoming season while trying to keep a handle on the recruiting process.

"Summer is going alright," Bailey said. "I have been busy lifting weights with my teammates. We have about 70 a week show up. We think we will have the best team in the last three years. Last year we lost in the first round [of the playoffs] last year to Twiggs County.

"I live on Sapelo island. It's between St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island. About 100 or less people live on the island. My father works on the ferry that comes to the island. I have lived here all my life. It is cool and calm, we don't bother anybody."

Bailey is also a good student and just wasn't happy with his first attempt on the SAT.

"I am waiting on my SAT test to come back," he said. "I already made a 1010 on the first one."

While he has limited his interest in schools to four, Bailey hasn't seen the ratchet on recruiting turned up just yet. With the four involved, it is likely to get a little hectic.

"I visited Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Miami this summer," he said. "It is down to those four schools right now. They are all even right now. I have been to all of them. I want to see them all in a game situation and am planning on visiting all for games.

"It isn't crazy yet."

Oh, but it will be.

The Florida Gators are facing off with three rivals on this one. It will be a slugfest for the best middle linebacker in America. The Gators have a few things in their favor, like the fact Bailey has already visited Gainesville three times since January.

"I just visited Florida this past weekend with my coach, my dad, my mother, and my sister and it was alright," he said emphatically. "I toured the school and met a few players and stuff. I got to see the dormitories and the academics and stuff like that. It was my third visit to Gainesville. I already visited for a spring practice and a combine.

"I saw a lot of Coach (Greg) Mattison. He is a funny guy. Coach (Urban) Meyer is down to earth and seems to know what he is doing. I met Lawrence Marsh while I was up there and Mon Williams. I met Tim Tebow a couple of times. I like that it is really close, it is only two hours away."

The home state Bulldogs are trying their hand at landing Bailey. He had a good time at Georgia too.

"I went here about three weeks ago," he said. "I took my parents there too," Bailey said. "The campus is big. That is what I remember there."

He also made it over to Tuscaloosa where Bailey is high on the tradition of the old Alabama.

"I like their defense and I know they have won 12 championships," he said.

He also paid a visit to Coral Gables and the home of the Miami Hurricanes. He thought it was a little more laid back than what he expected.

"I would say it's not all big city like people think," he said. "It is another quiet place."

So four heads are on the chopping block and three will get the axe in February. Bailey will take his time in looking at the schools and see which one really impresses him the most.

"I want to see how those teams do in the season coming up," he said about the schools and their football schedules. "I want to see how good the recruiting class is and I also want to see how the coaches are with the players.

With seemingly the ability to recruit every other position on the board, the Florida Gators are still lacking when it comes to the big linebacker. Allen Bailey is the prototype of the player they are interested in. Could he fill that void for the Gators in the class of 2007?

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