RECRUITING: Around the Network...

Through the power of the Scout.com network Sooners Illustrated provides a number of exclusive interviews with some of OU's hottest recruiting names...

Dion Bailey: In Good Company

By Allen Wallace
National Recruiting Editor
Posted Apr 27, 2009

Dion Bailey, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound three-star free safety from Lakewood, Calif., says he has at least 13 scholarship offers and is still trying to narrow down his focus.

Although he still denies a leader, he says his favorites are now Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA, Nebraska and Washington. All of his favorites have offered as well as Oregon State, Arizona State, Arizona, Washington State, California, Colorado, Boise State and SMU.

"I want a place with a good atmosphere," Bailey said. "I want to go where they love football and have a good attitude. I'd also like to be in a nice college environment with good fans and football support.

"I also want to go where they are really interested in me and want me," he said. "My mindset isn't to redshirt. I want to play as a freshman and am definitely going to be looking closely at depth charts."

Bailey, ranked as the No. 35 safety in the country by Scout.com, says that Washington is recruiting him the hardest.

"They were the first ones to offer me (in January) and have been after me ever since," he said. "I've been up there already and it was great. I love the facilities they have and the scenery around campus is beautiful. I love all the views.

"Seattle is also a really nice city," he said. "The coaches are great and they seem to love me. I like how excited they all seem about this season. They are definitely on the rise.

"The attitude of the players is really good and they are all really excited," Bailey said. "I talked to some guys about that and they said that this year they actually want to come to practice and are actually excited about playing football again.

"They all really seem to have bought into coach Steve Sarkisian already," he said. "They really seem to love him."

The only other school besides the Huskies that Bailey has already visited is UCLA. "I've been to a few practices and they are looking pretty good," he said. "It's a really nice environment."

But it's the academics at UCLA that have impressed Bailey the most. "They have really good academics," he said. "A degree from UCLA can take you a long way."

Will the Bruins close proximity help their cause? "Being close to home would be great," he admitted. "But if it's not a good fit I'm not worried about going away. I don't mind travelling."

Bailey says he doesn't plan on attending any camps this summer, and with his own spring practice quickly approaching he doesn't plan on visiting any other campuses either. "I plan on taking some official visits in the fall," he said.

"I'm hoping to commit before the season starts, but even if I do I'll still take some visits," he admitted.

Bailey's most recent offer was from Oklahoma and he says it was quite a shock for him. "I was very surprised by it," he said. "I never thought that I'd have a chance to play for a school like Oklahoma. It's amazing. I'm definitely going to consider them."

"They have great tradition," he said. "They are known for being a football school and I love the fans there. It just seems like an ideal place to play football."

Another program that Bailey calls a "football school" is Nebraska. "Everybody in that state follows Nebraska football," he said. "If you get an offer from them, you've got to be good."

Bailey's cousin, Kevin Garrett, played linebacker for Oregon and offered Bailey some advice. "He told me to stay humble," Bailey said. "He said not to get too excited by all this recruiting and college stuff and just to stay focused on high school. He told me to choose wisely.

"I like Oregon because I've heard they have the best facilities," he said.

"From the stuff they've sent me it looks like they do," he said. "It seems like a nice environment and everything is new and the best equipment. The fans are also some of the loudest in the country. They pack the stadium every week."

Bailey has company on the recruiting trail at Lakewood High School this year. Also being recruited are four-star quarterback Jesse Scroggins (Scout.com's No. 13 quarterback), three-star wide receiver Kevin Anderson (No. 77 wide receiver) and three-star defensive lineman Justin Utopo (No. 37 defensive lineman in the country).

"Me and Jesse are being recruited about the same," he said. "I got an offer from Oklahoma last week, but he got one from LSU so we're pretty even.

"I know that Jesse likes Washington a lot too," he said. "We went there for a visit together and he loved it. I knew he really got along well with coach Sark."

So are Bailey and Scroggins (or any of his other teammates) planning on going to the same college? "We've all talked about that," he said. "It would be great to play together in college but we're just going to do what's right for us."

Bailey broke down his teammates for us and explained why each one is a top recruit.

"Jesse is just good all around," Bailey said. "He has a cannon for an arm and can throw it like 70 yards. He can make some very tough throws.

"Kevin is fast and guys can't cover him," he said. "He runs amazing routes."

"Justin used to play tight end so he's real fast for a defensive lineman," he said.

Bailey finished his junior season with 72 tackles and nine interceptions. "I can cover the whole field," he said. "I move around really well and when the ball is in the air, it's mine.

"I go really hard and I'm very aggressive," he said. "Coaches have told me I'm a ball hawk and they love my hands.

"I still want to improve my tackling and overall fundamentals," he said. "I need to work on keeping my head up when tackling."

He says he can bench 285-pounds, squat 350 and has a 37-inch vertical jump.

Bailey plans on majoring in either sports medicine or business marketing. He reports a 3.0 core GPA and a 890 SAT, which he will retake.


Catching up with WR Trovon Reed

By Baron Flenory Jr.
Midland Regional Manager
Posted Apr 27, 2009

LSU, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Auburn, Texas, Florida, and Oregon stick out. That's not a top seven or in any order because there are still schools that I would be open to. These are just some schools that I really like right now. Nothing sticks out about anyone in particular plus I still have to go see Florida and Oregon and a couple other schools," said the 5-11/173 pound wideout.

Of the aforementioned schools, Reed has already taken trips to Auburn, Texas, and LSU. While on those trips, he got a good look at what he wants in a program and now has a baseline for comparing when he visits the others.

"I want to be at a place where I feel comfortable with the coaches, a school that will put the ball in the air and let me make plays, great fan support and game day atmosphere, I want a school where I can graduate and the coaches emphasis it. I'm looking for that all around good school for football and life."

With that said, how did the schools that he tripped stack up.

"Auburn has great coaches. They're amazing guys that are down the earth. They know what they want and they have a plan for how they want to use their personal. Their really organized. I mean, they do things the right way. When I was there, I got a tour of the stadium; it was huge. They talked about how they pack the place and how the fan support is crazy. I was really feeling that Auburn trip."

"I have been to LSU a bunch of times. It's not too far from me, so I've been knowing about them forever. It's a great school. They have tradition, they got great facilities, and coaches. The fan support is unreal and it's the in state school. Im not scared of leaving home but it's going to be hard to, you know."

"I was really feeling Texas but they got full so I had to open my eyes and look other places. They stopped recruiting me the same because I wasn't going to commit early. I wouldn't of minded competing for a spot. We are all freshman coming in and whoever was the best would of got the spot. You have to compete everywhere. But they got full. They're still high on my list, I just have to open my eyes and see what else is out there.

And though Reed has yet to visit Oklahoma, Tennessee, Oregon, and Florida, he has been doing his du diligence from a far.

"Oklahoma has a high power offense and they need playmakers at receiver. They're losing some key guys and I could come in and contribute early. I was really feeling them but they don't keep in contact. I know that they couldn't call me but I would reached out and they wouldn't do anything. They didn't reach out so I didn't feel like they had the interest. It's never too late though. I would listen to them and see what they had to say. I know they are still recruiting me so we will see how it plays out.

"I hear a lot of great things about Tennessee. How the town loves their team and how they are really good academically and about the tradition they have. I want to see what they have to offer. They are recruiting me real hard. They got a new staff that's trying to turn around the program and they have the coaches to do it."

"I feel good about Florida. They win a lot. They win championships. And the offense fits my style. They put the ball in their playmakers hands. It is a playmakers offense."

...and last but not least, Oregon. "I aint even going to lie, I'm feeling Oregon. They got a balanced offense which would make me more effective. I talked to Coach Kelly and he is a great guy. We talked about how I fit in and how he would want to use me. He said that he bases his offense around playmakers and I could be a key playmaker for him." As for the distance....

"It's far but I have to make a decision that is best for my future. If I have to go that far, I will."

Reed plans on narrowing down his list within the coming months but he will not make a college decision until the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.


Two offers and counting for Griffin

By Scott Eklund
JCFootball.com
Posted Apr 27, 2009

Robert Griffin was a standout prep line prospect from Trinity Euless High School in Euless, Texas and he had plenty of schools offering him the chance to play college ball, but he was unable to qualify so he headed to Navarro to continue his football career.

"I had offers from all over," Griffin told JCFootball.com. "Oklahoma, Texas Tech, a bunch of schools offered but since I wasn't going to qualify, I didn't sign with anyone.

"After that, I decided on Navarro because of the location and because they always put guys into four-year schools because of the competition we play against on a daily basis."

About midway through his freshman season, Griffin took over the right tackle position for Navarro and held that position the rest of the season, however he said tackle isn't the only place he can play.

"I'm versatile," Griffin said. "I can play anywhere a team wants me to play. It's my footwork that helps that out because I'm quick for a guy my size and I use good technique so I can play guard or tackle on either side and be successful."

On the recruiting front, Griffin again is hearing from teams across the college football spectrum and two have already stepped up with an offer.

"Oklahoma State and Kansas have both offered me already," Griffin said. "Oklahoma is looking at me again and so is Texas Tech. They were on me in high school and they are still looking at me.

"Arkansas wants me to take a visit during the summer and they said they will probably offer me then and Baylor and Louisiana-Monroe are also recruiting me."

Griffin has been hard at work in the weight room, improving his strength to a 335 pound bench press and a 590 pound squat, but that isn't the only place he's focused his attention.

"When I got here I said I was never going to let grades hold me back again," Griffin said. "I have a 3.2 GPA and I have a lot of confidence in that area now."

Griffin said he's on pace to graduate in December and he'll have three years to play two wherever he ends up.

We'll have more from Griffin in the coming weeks as recruiting picks up speed during the summer.


O. C. Brown holds three

By Andrew Bone
Asst. Regional Manager
Posted Apr 27, 2009

"I still have the same three offers right now," said O.C. Brown. "Right now Oklahoma and Auburn are coming at me pretty hard. Those are really the only other two programs recruiting me heavily."

"I went to Auburn two weekends ago for one of their practices. The visit to Auburn was nice. I like them a lot. The facilities were great. I think the coaching staff is really good."

"The coaches told me they were going to come see me in the spring. They said they want to see me in a game as well. I am going to try my best to get down there for a camp."

Brown is anxious for spring evaluations and will keep all options open as schools take a closer look. He plans a very busy summer schedule.

"I really am open to everyone right now," he said. "I don't have any favorites. I am going to try to hit several camps. I would like to go to Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Southern Miss and maybe even out to Colorado."

The off-season is nearing an end with spring practice on the horizon.

"We have been working out in the weight room," said Brown. "We start our practice May 5. I am going to work on my flexibility. That is the main thing. I want to get faster and stronger."


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories