April 24, 2006

Bulldogs add more beef, get back into Georgia

The Bulldogs are looking for big men to add depth to both sides of the line this year and recently added their third prospect to the class of 2007 when Gainesville (Ga.) East Hall's Korentheus Bailey opted to become State's sixth commitment. What made him pick State and what does he bring to the table?

"He went down there on Friday and met with the coaches, and just felt comfortable with them," commented East Hall defensive coach Bryan Gray. "They have a big need for defensive line over the next two years. He went ahead, came back today and called coach Croom about 12:30 today and committed.

"He has been offered by pretty much South Carolina, Virginia Tech over the phone, but he just wanted to play in the SEC and he is more of an SEC type body guy. He can play the inside, stop the run."

While he plays all over the field for East Hall, he projects as a defensive tackle at MSU.

"Either two of the interior positions, but no offense," Gray commented. "He is a better defensive lineman than an offensive lineman."

Bailey is listed at 5.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash in the Rivals.com database, not really a defensive tackle speed, or even an offensive lineman speed for that matter. There is a reason for that, and sometimes numbers are misleading.

"I would say he runs a 4.9," Gray began. "He did that combine back in December (where the 5.5 was timed), but he runs a 4.9 when he is healthy. He was pretty banged up at the end of the year, and went ahead and ran anyway, but he can probably run a 4.9. He is quick.

"He is playing tight end and we had him running on a vertical route. He has good enough speed at 270-275 that he can easily run one of those routes. He has quick feet and strength, but he is still new to football.

"He has only played three years, so he is still kind of raw but his future is ahead of him and I think that was what they see in him. He started to click this last year and just started dominating. He was unstoppable at the end of the year when we got to the playoff game."

While size and speed are some of the unteachable qualities, Bailey also holds some off-the-field qualities that will help him at the next level.

"I would say his real strength is his willingness," Gray explained. "He is a committed kid and he works hard. His commitment early was because he is not a big kid on attention.

"He doesn't really like it all and kind of got tired of all the letters. He just felt good with coach Croom and coach Croom's character and jumped at the chance to go down there.

"I was a little surprised he did it so quickly, but he knew the right decision and he made it and he will stick with it. He won't waiver in the slightest."

While his football skills got him in the door, his academic status has not suffered…even though his extracurricular activities load his schedule.

"He is a good student and takes tough classes," Gray commented. "He has a 2.8-3.0 GPA, but he's a two-sport player. He plays baseball too, so he doesn't have much free time, but he managed in the classroom and takes it serious.

"And he never, NEVER, gets in trouble. A solid-character kid that is yes-sir, no-sir, great family. The kid is going to make it there for four years or five years, however long they have him there. I know they don't plan on redshirting him, but you know how those things can be.

"He'll stick it out and he will be playing on the field. There is no doubt in my mind about that. He's not going to be second team."

With only 35 kids on the East Hall team, Bailey plays both ways.

"We play him at offensive guard, defensive tackle, d-end…wherever he can cause the most problems," Gray said vehemently. "He doesn't come of the field. He plays special teams, everything." At 6-foot-3 and 270 pounds he excels everywhere.

So with State hitting the Peach State early, will the trend established many moons ago continue?

"I am very impressed with Mississippi State's recruiting efforts this year," Gray proclaimed emphatically. "We put a good number of kids, I mean a lot of them have to go JUCO first, but they really cover out.

"Coach Beamer has been doing the recruiting. They have been knocking on a lot of doors and they have a lot of names, a lot of offers out early. Just talking to the coaches around here, they are in on about seven or eight guys in north Georgia and they have a shot at at least half of them and it is good to see that.

"Mississippi State for a while kind of disappeared from Georgia, but they are coming back now."

Stay tuned to see how that progression continues.



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