It seems like Maryland defensive line coach Chad Wilt had quite a productive week on the junior college recruiting trail Nov. 3-8. First, Wilt help land a soft commitment from touted Butler Community College (El Dorado, Kans.) defensive end Ulric Jones, who should be firmly on board with UMD following his official visit to College Park, Md., and then he identified another potential plugger at Pearl River Community College (Hattiesburg, Miss.).
Drew Bailey, a 6-foot-5, 275-pounder, had been flying under the proverbial radar for most of the fall, but on Nov. 11 he landed a scholarship from Maryland, and subsequently called it "my top school right now, definitely."
"I just got off the phone with Coach [Randy] Edsall at Maryland, and he went through the whole nine yards with me," said Bailey, who also held offers from Georgia State, Southern Mississippi and Louisiana-Lafayette. "He was getting to know me a little bit, and then he said he watched my actual game film and really liked it and wanted to offer me a scholarship.
"Honestly I was shocked and very excited, and very thankful. [Edsall] wanted me to call my dad and break it all down for him, and my dad was really, really excited too. Coach Edsall was saying how Maryland is one of the best schools in the country, and how he thought I could do well there and also help them beat Penn State, Ohio State and all those Big Ten teams. And then I said, 'OK, let's do it.'"
Now, that doesn't mean Bailey, who has three years of eligibility remaining, is committed to UMD quite yet. He said he was caught up in the moment and still has to think the whole thing over, in addition to visiting College Park for the first time. His official visit is set for Dec. 5, and he said he's eager to get on campus and meet the whole staff in person.
"We'll have to see how that visit goes. I have no idea what I'm going to do," said Bailey, who led the MACJC with 10 sacks. "But right now Maryland is at the top. I love what I'm hearing about them."
First and foremost, Bailey said he's intrigued by Maryland's renowned communications program. He said he wants to be a radio host and is aware many of today's TV personalities and media graduated from UMD. In addition, he likes the fact Maryland competes in the Big Ten, has a need for defensive linemen, and those snazzy Under Armour uniforms as well. Bailey has even seen the Terps play this year, and he recently watched them down Penn State on national TV.
"I actually watched them beat Penn State, and I really enjoyed that game," Bailey said. "They're really aggressive up front on both sides, and especially defensively. I like what Coach [Chad] Wilt does with his guys up front. And I know they have another good coach up there, too, Coach [Keenan] McCardell, who I remember when he was in the NFL."
Bailey said Maryland didn't come in contact with him until early November, when Wilt messaged him on Twitter. Maryland's D-line coach then trekked down to Pearl River Nov. 7 and met with the coaches in order to discuss Bailey and secure some raw game footage.
"Coach Wilt, just from talking to him online, he seems like a very nice, humble man and someone I could learn from," Bailey said. "And, it's kind of funny how this works, but the Southern Miss defensive coordinator was asking me who else was recruiting me, and I told him about Coach Wilt. And [the Southern Miss coach] was telling me how he's known [Wilt] forever and how good of a guy he is.
"But Coach Wilt, he was saying how he watched my actual game tapes and it showed how well I got off the ball. He said I could play inside at D-tackle or outside at D-end for them."
Bailey's trek to College Park in early December won't be his first time in the Old Line State. Evidently he's been there once before for a week-long stay over Thanksgiving break in 2011.
"My sister used to work at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and I was up there to see her a couple years ago," Bailey said. "I actually enjoyed it up there, and I think I could go to school up there. I haven't been to [the University of] Maryland before, but I don't think I'd mind going to college in Maryland."
Of course, Bailey still wants to see what other offers he can procure. He said both Louisville and Middle Tennessee are in touch, and he has planned officials to both, the former for Dec. 12 and the latter for Nov. 22.
"I'm just being patient, going with the flow," Bailey said. "We'll see what happens with this whole process."
Bailey is originally from College Park, Ga., and attended Banneker High School. He said he had some Division I interest as a junior and senior in 2011, but grade issues precluded him from securing any firm offers. Thus, he decided to attend junior college at Grand Rapids C.C. in Michigan, but was forced to leave when the football program was discontinued. So Bailey then tried his luck at Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. in Perkinston, Miss., which is where his coach from Grand Rapids matriculated to. But after redshirting for a year, his coach took a job at Central Arkansas, and Bailey opted to make another move as well.
This time he ended up at Pearl River, excelling to the point where he now has an offer from a Big Ten program.
"Honestly, I just want to get to a great college program and get my education and make my parents happy," said Bailey, whose father lives in Florida and mother lives in Georgia. "I want to continue to do well rushing the passer and learning the game of football, and I want to help my team win. But mostly I want to get my degree and set myself up for life after football."
Bailey 'Shocked' By Terps Offer
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