Patterson's Bailey takes stance

October 07, 1994|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

For Tyrone Bailey, a two-way lineman for Patterson, there's no doubt which side he wants to play on in college.

"I love playing defense," Bailey said after watching film of a game against Walbrook. "I just love to hit people."

That's the mean side of Tyrone Bailey. Now meet the more accommodating side.

Recently, Bailey was walking in the hallway heading to his next class when he was approached by a freshman. The student asked him for his autograph. Bailey was happy to oblige, but the 6-foot-4, 278-pound senior was a little thrown by the request.

Quarterbacks and running backs receive most of the attention, while linemen maybe get a pat on the back at game's end. There's not much glory in the trenches.

Bailey, one of the area's most complete linemen, who prefers making holes for running back Ryan Lewis or stopping the opposition's running back, hasn't gone unnoticed.

He has been rated as among the Atlantic Coast Conference's top line prospects by Lindy's Magazine. Florida State, Maryland, North Carolina and North Carolina State have expressed an interest in him, as have Illinois and Pittsburgh.

At the next level, Bailey, who has been timed in 4.8 in the 40-yard --, could play either defensive end or linebacker because of his size and quickness. His coach, Roger Wrenn, can see him playing on the offensive side.

"He's the best trap blocker we've ever had," he said. "He lays people out. He's not just a big body. He's agile like a little guy with grace and a lot of skills."

His talents haven't been lost on teammate Willie McGirt, who has passed for 2,387 yards and 27 touchdowns in two seasons. McGirt and Bailey have been best friends since junior high school.

"During my 10th-grade year, I was getting sacked a lot," said McGirt. "Ever since he's been starting, that has gone down. He's definitely a leader on this team. He's in timidating and a good lineman."

In the off-season, Bailey keeps in shape by jogging and lifting weights (305 bench press). Though he had a job last summer, he still jogged or walked to work.

Joe Mechlinski, who is only 5 feet 8 and 175 pounds but is the Clippers' leading tackler at linebacker, marvels at his teammate's ability and attitude.

"He's a hard worker. We've been there together, day in and day out," Mechlinski said. "He's such a good blocker and so strong and quick. He's a natural football player. They don't come like that too often."

In his freshman season, Bailey was 6-1 and 225 pounds, and on the junior varsity. The next season, he joined the varsity and the senior linemen helped bring him along. He began showing flashes of potential in Patterson's Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference championship win over Dunbar.

The previous two seasons, Bailey spent all of his time playing on the offensive line. This season, because of Patterson's lack of depth, he's playing both ways.

"Playing on offense, you have time to rest," said Bailey, who has a 2.8 grade-point average. "When you're on defense, you've always got to stay on your feet."

Bailey, a co-captain, has had to keep some of the underclassmen, who have taken Patterson's first No. 1 ranking for granted, on their toes. He stresses to them the perils of being No. 1.

"Everybody will be coming after us," Bailey said. "Every team we play for now on, it will be their big game. The pressure will be on us."

Bailey hasn't yet scored a 700 on the Scholastic Assessment Test, which is necessary for freshman eligibility, but is excited about attending college next fall. He said he plans to major in accounting because he likes crunching numbers.

:. Just like opponents on the football field.

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