Been quite a few hectic days for me leading up the start of Canes practice this Saturday. I've been organizing our local high schools media days this week (racking up recruiting interviews for you) and working on tons of online content -- video, podcasts, you name it. Among the projects: a weekly Dade-Broward high school football show and a Canes/college football show that will feature yours truly and a Herald columnist. Stay tuned for that!
With that said, the countdown of the Top 60 players at The U must continue (and end soon!). Today, we take a look at No. 8: junior defensive tackle Allen Bailey. Big Boss Bailey has always had an NFL body. He's 6-4, 290 now. He just hasn't been able to settle in. The Canes desperately need him to this year. Will he deliver and start playing like the first round pick he could potentially become?
> What we heard about him on Signing Day '07: Bailey was a big recruiting pickup for coach Randy Shannon, who visited the big man out on Sapelo Island in Georgia and swayed him away from the SEC (UF, Alabama and Georgia). Bailey only played in four games his senior season at McIntosh County Academy because of a stress fracture in his back. But as a junior, he posted 138 tackles, five forced fumbles and caught the attention of the recruiting experts quickly with his 6-4, 285-pound frame. Both Scout and Rivals had him ranked in the national Top 100 and as the seventh best defensive end in the country.
> What he's done as a Cane: Bailey came in as a linebacker -- a deal he worked out with Canes coaches before choosing UM -- and spent his freshman year struggling to pick up the position. He played in all 12 games. but saw most of his action on special teams. The following spring, Bailey was moved to defensive end and quickly went on the shelf when he tore a pectoral muscle lifting weights in the spring. It set him back in his move to the defensive line and caused him to miss the season opener against Charleston Southern. Bailey told us finally started feeling close to 100 percent after the Virginia Tech game. He finished with four starts and the team lead with five sacks to go with 36 tackles. It was strong finish to what started out as a shaky sophomore season. After seeing some time at defensive tackle on third downs, Bailey was moved to defensive tackle this spring. But he didn't play in the spring game.
> What Eye On The U expects from him in '09: There isn't a more physical freak at The U than Bailey, who runs a 4.65 in the 40-yard dash, has a 39-inch vertical (tied for 3rd on the team), benches 405 pounds (2nd on the team), squats 565 pounds (2nd on the team) and power cleans 375 (35 pounds more than anybody else on the team). Those can't be ignored. But neither can the fact the last three seasons Bailey has played have been uncomfortable. From the injury his senior year of high school to the wasted year at linebacker as a freshman and the pectoral injury that slowed him this past year, one has to wonder where Bailey would be right now had he just had some semblance of stability. This has to be the year that finally happens for him. There isn't a player on this team who has more gifts than Bailey. If he can stay healthy and start putting them to use full-time, Miami's horrid run defense could be a whole lot better.