Bailey Becoming Hot Commodity

The scholarship offer list of Dion Bailey, the 6-1, 195-pound safety prospect from Lakewood, Calif., has rocketed up to 13 offers. He tells us his four favorites, talks about them, and reveals which school is recruiting him the hardest...

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, 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 ('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.

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