It’s been a transformative few months for Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.) fullback/linebacker Bailey McElwain. With one little change to his Twitter bio, he let the world know he was no longer committed to Stanford anymore and would be heading to Vanderbilt.
The change was subtle and that’s how McElwain kept it. When he was committed to the Cardinal, they talked to him about grayshirting, essentially receiving a delayed scholarship, back in November. He didn’t tell many people of those plans until Signing Day came and went, and there wasn’t a signed letter of intent.
McElwain ended up enrolling in Lake Forest Academy, a prep school where he could continue to play and develop before heading off to Stanford.
“They thought it was a good opportunity for me to get prepped for Stanford. They still want me, obviously,” McElwain said. “It was all positive. It was never negative, it was never, 'You're not good enough this year'. It was always positive. I am very thankful for Stanford and what they did.”
As spring progressed, Vanderbilt became a more and more viable option for McElwain. On Monday, he committed to the Commodores, who are led by former Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason.
“I love the town and what they have going right now with football. The rebuilding process really intrigues me, just coming into something you know you have to work for,” McElwain said. “You play in a great conference, you have to be on top of things and I'm really excited about it. I like the scheme they have on offense. It's the way you should play football.”
This process was a difficult one, but McElwain came out the other side more patient and trusting. He was also reminded there is always opportunities to get better. In his downtime, he continues to work out to ensure he is in fighting shape when he takes the field.
“I'm just blessed. I'm happy with my decisions, and I'm extremely grateful to Stanford," McElwain said. "My heart is with them. It was a hard conversation having to de-commit from them because I'm so close to them."
"I'm grateful for the time as a Cardinal when I was committed. They have been extremely supportive, and it's a blessing to have the opportunity to go to Vanderbilt or Stanford. Thank you all the Sanford fans, and I wish you the best of luck."
McElwain sums up his past few months nicely, both on and off the field.
"Football is a short time in your life, but it can teach you how to be a man and be in the community."
McElwain joins Vanderbilt as a part of the 2015 class. He will report to the Commodores on August 1st.