UGA recruiting: Marietta sophomore QB Harrison Bailey is already elite

Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We check in today with an update on Marietta sophomore QB Harrison Bailey. He is already elite in every sense of the term. 

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MARIETTA, Ga. — Harrison Bailey has already been one of those scratch-your-head kind of guys for awhile.

But the now 6-foot-4, 215-pound sophomore makes one wonder if the state of Georgia now produces more elite QBs than it does kudzu. Bailey has evolved from “could be” to “will be” to “is” about as fast as one could ever project.

  • He looked like he could be special very early last spring prior to his freshman year.
  • Bailey showed he will be last fall when he threw for 2,812 yards and 21 scores on a 3-7 team.
  • I saw him this week. He already is one of the Top 5 QBs in the state this year. He might even be in the Top 3.

That’s quite the climb for a young gun who still can’t keep his hands off those Little Debbie Swiss Cake rolls, but I watched him throw this week and shook my head.

Will a ball ever hit the ground in practice when he’s a senior at Marietta? They barely do now.

Harrison Bailey-UGA recruiting
There’s no need to check your vision. Harrison Bailey really is a high school sophomore QB prospect. (Jeff Sentell /SEC Country)

The sophomore has all the offers he could ever want. Mark Richt offered him for Miami in February of 2016. North Carolina followed that April.

Bailey picked up Florida and Texas A&M that June. Alabama and Ole Miss followed in July. Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State and Tennessee have all ponied up scholarships, too.

Cam Newton sought Bailey out when he was 14 years old at a prospect camp . He wanted to meet the eighth-grader who was dissecting all those secondaries spilling over with junior and senior prospects.

Newton told him to keep working. Improving. Bailey did. He has.

Harrison Bailey is the latest Georgia great

It seems pretty lame to come up with a line like Bailey is the next Trevor Lawrence. Or even DeShaun Watson or Davis Mills or Jake Fromm or Justin Fields at that.

Harrison Bailey-UGA recruiting
Marietta High QB Harrison Bailey already “kind of” has a plan for when he wants to make his college decision. (Jeff Sentell / SEC Country)

That stuff reads pretty backward to me when the oldest of those guys just made the NFL and only two of those arms are even in college. Arm talents like that should not be expected every year or even every five years, but that seems to be the way the state now spits out college bedrocks every fall.

It actually reads more like an assembly line. Watson’s class was in 2014. Brice Ramsey and Josh Dobbs came out in 2013. Those were Top 10 guys, but let’s all remember that Ramsey was just the No. 100 player overall by the 247SportsComposite that year.

There really wasn’t anyone of consequence for the state in 2015 or 2016. But then came 2017.

Davis Mills (Stanford) was rated No. 15 overall coming out of Greater Atlanta Christian. Jake Fromm (UGA) ranked No. 50 overall. That was just the prelude.

That 247SportsComposite rating now lists Lawrence at No. 1 overall with Fields right behind him at No. 3 for 2018. Heard County’s Emory Jones (Ohio State) also ranks as the nation’s No. 32 overall prospect this year. Central Gwinnett’s Jarren Williams (Kentucky) is also a comparable Top 10 talent who actually earned an Elite 11 invite this year over Jones.

Add Bailey’s name to that list. The sophomore belongs in that conversation of the Top 5 quarterback prospects in Georgia. The state doesn’t have a comparable arm to Bailey in the 2019 class, but Buford’s Aaron McLaughlin will likely also rise to national prominence in 2021.

Where are all these guys coming from?

Bailey credits the impressive wealth of quarterback trainers and private instructors around the Metro area. The work that noted quarterback Sherpa Tony Ballard has done with him is invaluable.

Ballard has worked with Mills and many others. He’s a Sherpa because he helps all these golden arms get to the top of the mountain when it comes to playing the position. His resume speaks for itself there.

The current recruiting read on Harrison Bailey

This young man is by no means a diva quarterback. He works. His eyes are straight ahead. He keeps his AppleWatch on at practice every day because he wants to keep track of his steps.

He’s vastly talented, but the polish on his game at this age comes because he works at least 10-15 hours per week on being a better player. Bailey worked on Marietta in the mornings every day this summer. Then he worked on being a better QB in the afternoon. Those were his 2-A-Days. Every summer day.

Marietta’s standout QB also values those he spends the most time with.

“I am really for my teammates and my family,” he said. “I am going to be around and be there for the same people that are here for me every day. Loyalty is big for me. I love my teammates to death. I would do anything for them.”

Bailey has been invited to all of the showcases and 7-on-7 events and more than held his own. He’s even been at Steve Clarkson’s well-known “QB Retreat” and soaked up all he could.

Harrison Bailey-UGA recruiting
Harrison Bailey received some good advice about the recruiting process from Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson. (Jeff Sentell / SEC Country)

“Shea Patterson told me to take it really slow,” Bailey said. “He told me not to make a decision based on how I feel or a great feeling on a great visit. He told me to make the decision based on what’s best for me and my family and ultimately everyone around me.”

Florida was the dream school growing up. The Gators were also one of his first three offers and he did attend their “Friday Night Lights” came last month. Bailey was there with a pair of elite 5-star senior QBs in Matt Corral and Justin Fields.

He’s seeing what Fields is doing right now. That’s waiting until the senior season to make his college choice.

“I feel like that would be pretty tough,” Bailey said. “You’d have to get a lot of information and a lot of time with people and coaches and stuff. But I feel like he could do it. I feel like I could do it, but that would not be the ideal plan.”

The colleges would like to set their class foundation at QB prior to their junior season. That’s when Jacob Eason committed to Georgia. Trevor Lawrence almost followed that path but then waited until after his junior season to choose Clemson.

“I do kind of have a plan,” Bailey said. “I think I am probably going to commit after my sophomore year or either that or I will take a whole bunch of visits and go and commit before my junior year. I like that idea. That means you can go and build teammates around you.”

How does Harrison Bailey feel about UGA? 

DawgNation is probably wondering the obvious right now with Bailey. Would Jacob Eason plus Jake Fromm plus landing Justin Fields this fall likely drop the Bulldogs out of the running?

That would be a logjam of quarterbacks. Bailey even laughed at the thought of that quarterback room. Fields, if he chose UGA, would not have a shot at starting until 2019. The likely duel between Jake Fromm and Fields would last until 2020.

Harrison Bailey-UGA recruiting
Harrison Bailey will throw to a fleet of future Saturday receivers this season. (Jeff Sentell / SEC Country)

If Fields redshirts, he would hold the job until at least 2021.

“I have kind of thought about that,” Bailey said. “I mean I love Justin. Great kid. I wouldn’t mind coming in and competing with him if that was absolutely the school I had the most desire to attend and come in and play for. But if I want to play as a freshman or even as a redshirt freshman, I have to make sure to look at all my best options.”

That’s a good question. It is also a tough question for a competitor like Bailey to think about right now.

These are all good problems to have, but the depth at QB the Bulldogs might stack up could cost them their best shot at the state’s clear-cut top QB prospect for 2020.

Remember the Jim Chaney quote about the quarterback room from this weekend?

“With all the competition we have, we are all going to get better, including me,” Chaney said. “So that’s a good thing about this room. I like it. It’s competitive. Our job and I think Georgia’s job and everyone’s job is to make sure that room stays as competitive as it can for a long time. (Do) you want to have a good solid football program? Keep that room really nice.”

Bailey said he doesn’t hear too much from UGA at this time.

“Georgia has been steady,” Bailey said. “But I really feel like they are recruiting a 2018 quarterback right now. They are just trying to get their 2018 guys first and then I feel they will really start working on their 2020 group.”

I’ll make that very clear: That 2018 guy is Justin Fields. And then everybody else.

Watch for the Florida Gators here

Bailey said his two-day visit to Florida went “pretty good.” He was there for their sophomore night and then their “Friday Night Lights” with Corral and Fields. Truth be told, the succession plan at QB for Florida looks better than most with Corral coming in for 2018 and him having a prime chance to follow him in the Class of 2020.

“Friday Night Lights was a phenomenal atmosphere,” he said. “A lot of people. A lot of eyes on the field. I thought I performed well. Could have done better. Just a great camp. I was glad to work with those coaches.”

Harrison Bailey-UGA recruiting
Harrison Bailey was already the next big thing at QB in the state of Georgia a year ago at this time. He’d yet to reach high school. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation.com)

But he can’t really think that way. He has to set that aside along with the strong feelings he had for the Gators growing up.

“It is still a great school for me to attend but I still look at them just like I look at every other school,” Bailey said. “That is going to be trying to find the place where I can succeed and the best place for me to go.”

There is also a strong pull for the Gators.

“My mom is a big Florida fan and she wants to see a game at night at home so we will probably take a visit there,” Bailey said. “Then of course after that, you will have your usual visits I would like to take to see the Alabama and Tennessee games and stuff like that.”

Which schools have impressed Bailey of late? 

The Ducks are in play here. So is North Carolina.

“Oregon’s stock has shot up a lot,” Bailey said. “They have really been after me and I am actually going to take a visit there on Sept. 28 or Sept. 29.”

He’s looking for a strong coaching staff with a heavy hand on the offense and play-calling. A coach who was once a quarterback or an offensive coordinator would be a nice fit. He wants to go to school in a great college town. The location of where he plays will matter to him.

Which schools have developed the best relationships with him so far?

“North Carolina has shown me a ton of interest,” Bailey said. “They have shown me what they are really like. They really want me. Of course, there’s Florida here, too. The time I have spent around those coaches has really helped a lot. I’m starting to really consider Alabama here as well even though they keep getting new coaches. They win and they always have good quarterbacks. … Clemson’s interest is starting to build for me even though they have not offered yet.”

What to look for from Bailey in 2017

Marietta has stacked up the receivers for Bailey this year. There is an obscene amount of talent on the Blue Devils this year. It starts with 2019 standout Ramel Keyton. Keyton is a mismatch once he hits the field and will play both inside and outside this fall.

He’s already been offered by most of the big boys in college football. Look for his profile in the coming days.

Keyton has a horde of help. Look for 4-5 other future Saturday receivers to catch passes from Bailey this fall. It will feel like he’s working his elite Fundamentally Sound Sports Team’s 7-on-7 depth this fall.

“There’s a lot of guys here,” Bailey said. “I’m blessed with a lot of good athletic receivers. We’ve got Ramel (Keyton), Arik (Gilbert), Scoobie (Ford), Jacquez (xxxx), Kobe (Stewart) and Taji (Johnson) for us. Those are about all we would ever need really.”

Bailey has gotten better at the mental side of his game over the last six months.

“The Harrison that played in 2016 kind of understood the offense,” Bailey said. “We didn’t have as many weapons. We had a couple. This year I will go to one, two, three or ultimately even get to a fourth receiver with my reads this year or just get the ball out of bounds. I know the plays a lot better this year and have a lot more experience.”

The post UGA recruiting: Marietta sophomore QB Harrison Bailey is already elite appeared first on DawgNation.

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