Maryland played host to nine official visitors this weekend, but perhaps the most intriguing was junior college defensive lineman Drew Bailey from Pearl River Community College (Hattiesburg, Miss.). Bailey made the flight to College Park, Md., by himself, arriving the afternoon of Dec. 5 before leaving for an early trip back to Mississippi Dec. 7.
“Man, I really, really enjoyed it. I had a great time,” said the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Bailey, a native Georgian with offers from UMD, Fresno State, Louisville, N.C. State and Purdue, among others. “Beautiful campus, beautiful city, great coaches, great people.”
Bailey warned heading into the official that he liked to ask plenty of questions, and apparently that’s just what he did. The sack specialist said he had a “long, long talk” with head coach Randy Edsall, area recruiter and position coach Chad Wilt, and assistant Keenan McCardell, who knows Bailey’s father in Florida.
“The best part for me was talking to Coach Edsall and the coaches. Coach Edsall was saying how I could get a great degree there, and how if something happened to me, my scholarship was guaranteed,” Bailey said. “So that really stood out to me, just about the academics and how much emphasis he puts on that side of things.
“And, you know, when I was talking to Coach Edsall [Dec. 7], he said he doesn’t just need me right now, but right now. I mean, right now,” Bailey said. “We talked for a long time about playing time, how I can help change the line and be a leader on the D-line. He was saying how they’re losing a lot of guys and they need me to come in and be a difference maker.”
Apparently Bailey heard the same from Wilt. The Pearl River product noted how he talked to Wilt extensively while they were in Washington, D.C., for dinner, during position meetings and just in general while in College Park.
“Coach Wilt, that’s my guy,” Bailey said. “Just like Coach Edsall, he was saying how they need someone with experience to come in and anchor the line. He was saying I could play early there, and step right in and have an impact.”
Bailey paid particular attention to Wilt and his D-line while at practice Dec. 5-6. The former was highly impressed with Maryland’s practice in general, and then specifically mentioned Wilt’s enthusiasm, noting how he could see himself playing for the first-year assistant.
“At practice, everything is on a time schedule and it was all about business. You come in, go to work, get yourself together, leave, lift and go to class,” Bailey said. “Practice was so smooth and all the coaches are on the same page and really connect. Coach Wilt is very active, energetic and very hands on. He knows what he’s doing out there and looks like a great teacher.”
The Georgia lineman noted that he and McCardell had a discussion as well. Bailey said McCardell and Edsall will actually be heading down to Florida Dec. 9 in order to meet with his father, who has been one of Bailey’s primary advisors throughout the recruiting process.
In addition to the staff, Bailey spent a good amount of time with his host, sophomore linebacker Yannick Ngakoue. Bailey said the two discussed what it would be like if they both teamed up in Maryland’s 3-4 scheme.
“Yannick, he was great. He was saying how he needs somebody who can get to the quarterback and into the backfield to make his job easier,” Bailey said, chuckling. “He started as a true sophomore and got on one of the all-conference lists, and he was just an impressive guy. We clicked right away, and we were talking about how we can team up for sacks and then go out and beat Ohio State.”
Bailey went on to break down the rest of the official. He detailed his trip to Washington, D.C., talks with academic advisors, position meetings, facility tours and the like.
“D.C. was really, really nice and I like how it’s so close to campus,” Bailey said. “My major, I want to do communications, there’s plenty of opportunities right around there. Like if I want to get an internship with Under Armour or something, that’s available to me right there.
“We went out to dinner down there [in D.C.] too, and we went to Ruth’s Chris. I don’t eat steak, though, so I usually get lamb, but they didn’t have lamb. So I got the chicken, and it was still really good. I really enjoyed the dinner (laughs)."
As for College Park, Bailey said:
“It was just a great college campus, and I liked how everything you could possibly need is right there for you. I feel like I could fit in well there.”
While Bailey thoroughly enjoyed himself, he said he had no intentions of committing while at Maryland. He’s said from the outset he wanted to take all of his official visits before coming to a decision around the junior college signing day, Dec. 18.
So far Bailey has visited N.C. State, Fresno State and now UMD, with Louisville coming up Dec. 12-14.
“I am going to Louisville, and I’m looking forward to bonding with the coaches, the players and my position coach,” Bailey said. “I’ll be looking at the location, the surrounding area and seeing how I fit in. But mostly I want to see how I bond with the coaches.”
Bailey does not plan to use a fifth official after Louisville and will likely announce his college destination on signing day.
“I don’t know exactly when I’ll decide…it’ll probably be signing day, but if my mind isn’t made up I’ll wait. I don’t have to sign on signing day. I can take a little more time if I need to,” Bailey said. “But right now I just want to take this visit to Louisville, talk things over and then go from there.”
OV Bailey Impressed with UMD, Staff
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