Pilot Point senior DaCoven Bailey was all smiles Wednesday morning as he signed a national letter of intent to play football for the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers is a member of the Big Ten Conference and plays the likes of the University of Michigan and Ohio State, as well as this year’s Big Ten champion, the Michigan State Spartans.
“I am very happy for this opportunity,” Bailey said. “I want to thank my coaches and teammates for helping me get this opportunity.”
Bailey visited Rutgers, located in New Jersey, over the weekend and liked what he saw.
“Other than the weather, I really liked it,” Bailey said. “The people were really nice and the coaches were great. There was a lot of positive energy there. They really want me to be a part of their program.”
Bailey said the Rutgers coaches plan to use him on offense as an H-back or in the slot and possibly as a nickel back on defense.
“They want me to come up and play immediately. They don’t plan to red-shirt me,” he said.
Bailey will attend classes during the summer at Rutgers and step right into the summer program.
Pilot Point assistant coach Tim McFadden said a friend of his, Bill Busch, was recently hired as the defensive backs coach at Rutgers.
“He called me when he got the job and asked if we had anyone that would be a fit for them,” said McFadden, who told Busch about Bailey.
“They were a little late in the recruiting game since they are all new, so this whole thing came about pretty quickly.”
After looking at film of Bailey, the Rutgers staff invited him to make an official visit to the school. Bailey agreed to sign with Rutgers after he was offered a scholarship to play football. Wednesday was the first day recruits could sign letters of intent to play college football.
Bailey will be part of the first recruiting class put together by Rutgers’ new head coach, Chris Ash, who was named to the job in December.
“That is a good thing for [Bailey],” said Pilot Point head coach Rob Best. “Since he is a part of their foundation, he will likely get a lot of playing time.”
Bailey played running back, wide receiver and defensive back for the Bearcats. He was the district’s Offensive Player of the Year in both 2014 and 2015 and was an honorable mention All-State pick both years.
It’s been quite a ride for Bailey since his family left New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005. After Katrina forced the family to leave their home they found themselves in Pilot Point.
“This was the best thing that could have happened to me,” he said. “We didn’t pick Pilot Point; Pilot Point picked us.”
s for playing Division I football in the Big Ten conference, Bailey says it’s a dream come true.
“As a little kid, you dream of this. Now, it’s here. I am really excited,” he said.
Best is excited for Bailey and the opportunity he has to play at the next level.
“Not only did he work hard on the field to get here, but he has the grades for this,” Best said. “That made it easy for this to work. He has the work ethic to be successful. As coaches, we help kids get where they could not get by themselves. I can’t say enough about our coaches, and this is just another testament to that.”