Name: Diamonte Bailey
ESPN: 77; three stars; #65 DE
Rivals: 5.4; two stars; VA #27
Scout: two stars
Other offers: Marshall
Easiest pickup the UVA coaching staff - new or old - has had in years. For Diamonte Bailey the only question in his recruitment was whether or not he'd get an offer from UVA; he did, and committed on the spot. If you were to stake your life on one recruit to not decommit this year, here's your guy. And frankly, it's always neat when a kid is a UVA fan and gets the letter he's been hoping for.
Bailey's offer list is pretty much commensurate with his ratings, which for the most part are weak, but at least some of that can be attributed to his committing early and then shutting it down. Coaches get the message when a guy commits the moment he's offered. It raised at least one eyebrow, though. To me, the unstated implication in that article was that the staff could have waited to see if they could land any of their top targets and still reeled in Bailey with a later offer if they missed out on, say, the Rob Burns's of the world.
But it's not like Bailey is some kind of reach. As with any legitimate D-I recruit, he's brought in his honors: in this case, second-team all-region, alongside the much higher-rated Corey Marshall. (All-region is a step above all-district, by the way, in case you were wondering.)
And if the lack of offers can be partly explained away by the early commitment, you can do likewise with the low ratings by looking at his size. At 220 pounds, Bailey is undersized for a linebacker let alone a lineman. College-sized, he is not. Nearly all our DE's are this way, it's a London thing. Groh would bring them in at 250, 260 pounds, easy. It's the difference in the defenses again.
In the ratings department, this time it's ESPN that decides to be different. Scout and Rivals have Bailey as a two-star; ESPN ranks him on the DE list higher than a few of our higher-profile targets, notably Burns and Daquan Romero. I enjoy using these profiles to highlight the occasional silliness of the whole recruiting business: this time it's in the scouting reports. The RTD says Bailey "moves well for his size" (as opposed to those 250-pounders?) and VirginiaPreps says he "probably hasn't reached his apex as a football player." God I hope not. If London ever recruits a player who's peaked as a junior in high school I will drive to Charlottesville and slap him in the face myself unless the guy's already 6'6", 300 and runs a 4.1 40. I don't expect it'll ever come to that.
Anyway, Bailey comes into a logjam in 2011. Groh might have unwisely used a few true freshmen in his time but one position where he did just about none of that is DE. (Except for Will Hill, who's a DT now.) Four DE's in this class and four more are true or redshirt freshmen this year. Expect redshirts for everyone here, Bailey included, and then a dogfight for playing time that has no clear favorite at all.