In 2005, the Massillon Tigers will be hoping to rebound from what has been two sub-par seasons. The Tigers, coached by Rick Shepas, are not accustomed to rebounding from losing seasons, and all indications are that next year could see the Tigers return to being one of the top programs in Ohio.
One of the top returnees for Shepas is sophomore safety Andrew Dailey. Dailey is listed as one of the top sophomores in the state by Ohio High magazine. The 6-3, 212-pound Dailey, who started every game but one, is known as a big hitter and is drawing the attention of college recruiters.
"I'm getting letters from Purdue, Kansas, Boston College, Notre Dame, Michigan and Ohio State, as well as others. I stopped at Michigan last summer, and I've been to games at Notre Dame and West Virginia. Coach Shepas took me to the Ohio State-Michigan game last season, and that was great," Dailey said.
As one of the top players in a school known for success, Dailey said the Tigers are working hard to turn around their fortunes. When asked about his goals for 2005, Dailey was quite direct and honest.
"We need to make the playoffs and have a deep run in the playoffs. We need to start beating some of the best teams in Ohio. We especially need to start beating Canton McKinley again," Dailey said. "For my personal goals, I'd like to lead the team in tackles. I'd also like to play wide receiver to show my athletic ability. I'll play both ways if that helps us win."
Andrew, who currently has a 3.5 grade average, loves playing at Massillon and enjoys playing for Rick Shepas.
"Playing at Massillon is great because of the tradition. Nothing compares to the Massillon-McKinley rivalry. There's nothing like running out of the tunnel before that game," Dailey said. "Coach Shepas is someone I like a lot. He moved me to safety from linebacker, because he believed in me. He cares about the players and wants what's best for us, not just when we're playing for him, but even after we leave school."
Since the end of the season, Dailey has been busy making himself a better player. His speed has improved dramatically and he hopes to get even faster.
"I worked out in Akron with Butch Reynolds for 10 sessions. We worked on getting faster and I can tell it's working. We started baseball workouts this week, and my 60 yard dash time is .4 faster than last year. I ran a 4.57 forty last summer and I'm hoping to lower that time this year," said Dailey. "I like playing baseball but I feel my future is in football. I've read a lot about Jerry Rice's work ethic and I try to follow what he's done off the field. On the field I try to play like John Lynch."
After a successful season on the freshman team, one might think the adjustment to varsity football would be difficult, but Dailey handled the transition just fine.
"The speed of the game was tough at first, but it got better. I played my best football the last four games. The game seemed to really slow down and I was feeling more comfortable. I can't wait for next season to start. We need to get Massillon football back to where it should be," Dailey said.
Andrew is good friends with another top sophomore football player, Devon Torrence of Canton South. They play summer baseball together and the two talk often, as they push each other to get better.
"Devon and I are close. We're always trying to see who can beat the other one. I raced him a couple years ago and beat him in about a 30 or 40 yard race. I'll never let him forget it either," Andrew said with a smile. "It would be neat if we could go to the same college some day. He's a great athlete."
Andrew Dailey is as mature a person as any sophomore you'll meet. He has a great attitude, as well as tremendous talent, and it appears he has a bright future in football. Dailey is a player that we will track very closely in 2005 at Ohio High magazine.