Austin (TX) Lake Travis safety James Bailey is a man of few words, but a man of action. Bailey recently committed to Fresno State after checking out the campus. He chose the Bulldogs over conference rivals New Mexico and Nevada, and the Big XII’s Iowa State. That same day Fresno State picked up an additional commitment from another Texas safety and the funny part is that Bailey and the other player had spoken to each other on a visit to New Mexico. Since the Bulldogs also lost safety Randon Knotts, who decided to head back to Texas, it was a really interesting day for Texas safeties.
Bailey’s recruitment started with David Stenklyft and continued throughout the summer. Stenklyft saw the potential in Bailey and started applying the pressure to get him up to campus and check out their family environment. To nobody’s surprise, it worked. Bailey decided to take a bunch of visits that week and Fresno State stood out the most for him.
“It started, I got my offer a little ways back,” Bailey said. “We always kept in touch for a little bit and he asked for me to come up soon so we got that connected. He asked me to come up that week. We went on a few visits that week too. We went to Fresno State, Nevada, and Iowa State.”
Once Bailey got on campus, he was greeted by defensive coordinator Nick Toth. That relationship opened Bailey’s eyes to the type of environment at Fresno State. The connection with Toth was something that grew Bailey’s interest in Fresno State, but the visit pushed him over the edge. It also didn’t hurt that the new facilities were very attractive. In other words, Bailey came, he saw, and then he decided.
”They had really great facilities and the coaching staff was great,” Bailey said. “I loved the DC, he’s also the linebackers coach. He’s really young and he connected with me really well. I loved the campus it was beautiful too. They treated me like family. I’m looking for a family environment and that was exactly it.”
As for how the Bulldogs plan to use Bailey, they see him as a nickel. They want to use him as a rover, which is something he did in his sophomore and junior years in high school. Seeing guys like Derron Smith and Phillip Thomas succeed like they have is also something that gives Bailey confidence in his decision to choose Fresno State over all others.
”They’ll play me as like a nickel,” Bailey said.”That’s what I played my sophomore, junior, like a rover type. That’s really awesome. That gives me really good hope and chances for me to take it to the next level.”
While it’s certainly a little bit before Bailey has to put pen to paper, he definitely loves Fresno State’s policy of putting their best players on the field if they are ready. Bailey has no qualms with taking a redshirt if he has to, but that’s not what he plans to do upon arriving at Fresno State. Bailey has already bought into the message of the coaching staff and is ready to get to work.
“My goal is to play as a true freshman. If not, I’m okay with being a redshirt freshman. I want to be a leader there and impact the team and set goals, set the standards up high for the program and for my team there.”
As usual, this staff has these kids buying into the program message long before their arrival. Proof that success is earned, not given.
Stay tuned to BulldogPlaybook.com for more updates on the 2014 Fresno State season.
Josh Webb is a Staff Writer for BulldogPlaybook. You can follow him on Twitter at @FightOnTwist.