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Recruiting WOO! Preston Bailey Commits to UT

One of the biggest needs for Tennessee in the 2008 recruiting class is offensive linemen, and Tennessee got a big push in that department with the commitment of Montgomery Bell's Preston Bailey (the 2008 recruiting board will be updated at the earliest convenience, i.e., December).

I did a Google search for "Preston Bailey" and got this:

Preston Bailey was born and raised in the verdant, tropical paradise of Panama, so it's little wonder that he is world renowned for his innate sense of style, inspired by the vibrant colors, organic shapes, and lush natural abundance of his homeland.

Preston moved to New York City in 1968 at the age of 19 and began his career in the design world as a fashion model, eventually opening a men's clothing boutique.

Pretty sure that's not our Preston Bailey. The Preston Bailey we're concerned with is 6-5 and 315 lbs., ranked as one of the best players in Tennessee and a top-30 offensive line prospect nationally, a three-star player by Scout, four-star via Rivals, and a 77 rating from ESPN.

According to the Tennessean, Bailey had planned visits to Miami, Florida, Michigan, and UT, but the latter two were the only schools he really considered:

"Honestly, it came down to those two schools," Bailey said. "Me being at MBA makes me really care about academics and Michigan is at the top level in academics and football as well. And I have family there.

"But in the back of my mind, there hadn't been any other school like UT. My mom felt comfortable with me being there and I wanted to be there. I thought I might as well make it official."

So he chose the comfort of home over a place where they make you smart. That's okay, Preston, you can get an education at Tennessee, too, it's just more optional (hey, if we expected our players to be smart, we'd call our endzones "the chessboards").

So Bailey's huge and intelligent, things you look for in offensive linemen, but there is a potential red flag:

Bailey wanted to give other schools a chance to change his mind. But a knee injury this preseason — a sprained ligament and bruised meniscus he's played through — caused him to reconsider the recruiting process.

"You don't know what's going to happen … so why not take something good in front of you?"

So did Bailey really, really want to commit to UT? Or did he get scared that offers would disappear if his injury has him playing at less than 100% this fall, so he just took the sure thing? I'd guess it's a little bit of both; Michigan would have taken him if he chose blue, but I believe him when he says it was always Tennessee. I'm thrilled to have him, and there's a couple of other in-state linemen (Barrett Jones, David Spurlock) that I hope join him here.

For right now, let's just hope Bailey's knee gets better. And somebody get the boy a book, he wants to learn.