November 12, 2008

Tim Bailey is battle tested

The game of football has all too often been compared as a battle.

But Iraq War veteran and current Mississippi State defensive end Tim Bailey can attest to both. The 6-foot-3, 241-pounder was deployed overseas for 18 months in the Mississippi National Guard before joining the Bulldog program.

"You always use these war analogies right or wrong, but in Tim's case it is correct," said MSU head coach Sylvester Croom. "He has been to battle. I can't put into words how valuable he is to us. He has come back to play college football and is the same age as a lot of other guys. But his experience has made him far more mature than the other guys and they recognize that. He has been somewhere and done some things that most of the players and I hope we never have to do. You can't say enough about what he and young men like him are doing for all of us from around the world and the sacrifice he has made."

Bailey originally signed to play at Delta State coming out of high school but his commitment to his country came first. He lost his scholarship when he left to go to basic training and upon his return had to settle for a junior college offer at Mississippi Delta.

Bailey led the team with 95 tackles and adding three quarterback sacks en route to a 7-3 season in 2003.

But Bailey had to put his football career on the backburner when his unit was called into active duty in August of 2004. He and his unit trained for five months at Camp Shelby before being deployed to Iraq in December 2004 for a 12 month span.

"Coming straight out of high school I really didn't have too many offers," Bailey said. "I signed with a Division II school (Delta State) but when I went off to do my basic training, that cancelled that scholarship out. When I came back, I had a junior college offer and I took that. I did pretty good there and then the next year I got deployed overseas."

But there was one thing that Bailey kept on his mind the entire time he was fighting for our freedom, a full-scholarship to Mississippi State.

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