Say this for Sterling Bailey: The young man can keep a secret.
The East Hall football star already knows to which school he plans to commit — has known for a while actually — but he still does not intend to make it public until May 14. That’s the day he has selected to reveal the lucky winner from among the 23 teams that have offered him a scholarship.
You can try, but you’re not going to get anything out of him until then.
“It’s not that hard to keep it [a secret] since I’ve been keeping it this long,” said Bailey, declining to say exactly how long he has had his mind made up. “I’m starting to hear from a lot of people. Everybody wants to know. But I just tell them to ‘tune in May 14th and you’ll find out.’”
Bailey’s announcement is tentatively planned for 6:30 p.m. at the high school.
Bailey, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end, has fielded offers from pretty much every major program in the South and some as far away as California and Notre Dame. But in recent weeks he has narrowed it down to a more manageable final seven. His choice will come from among Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Getting down to that number was a deliberate and methodical process for Bailey and his family.
“I had picked some categories on what would make we want to go to a school,” Bailey explained. “Then I looked up some background on each one and placed them into the categories. The schools that stood out the most, I called them and talked to the coach and just tried to see what kind of connection I had with them.”
Once he decided on finalists, Bailey said he leaned hard on God, his father Kevin and the pastors of their church in Lula.
“He prayed about it and had our pastors pray about it and God led him to a decision,” Kevin Bailey said.
If that sounds similar to the scenario that just played out with Christian LeMay up in North Carolina, that’s because it is. LeMay, a quarterback who committed to Georgia this past Friday, and Bailey have become friends during the recruiting process.
“Him and Sterling are real good friends,” Kevin Bailey said. “It seems like every time we’d go on a trip to one of these schools we’d see him. Sterling called [last week] and talked to him the day before [his announcement] and he told Sterling, just wait and see where I’m going.”
That’s as close as you’ll get to a hint you’ll get out of the Baileys. Even the college coaches still in the running have been left to wonder.
“Right now all my calls are being fielded on my dad’s phone,” Bailey said. “But I’ve been getting messages on my phone and on Facebook [from coaches] asking me, ‘am I in the top, am I in the running?’ and all this. I just tell them all it’s an open race right now.”
At least until the 14th of May.