by John Unrein
Jack Bailey has started along the offensive line for the Grain Valley Eagles football program since he was a sophomore. He earned his stripes in the Suburban Conference with the bumps and bruises that come from being an underclassman starting at the varsity level. The 6’ 2” 260 pound senior has since grown into a confident student athlete that was selected homecoming king by his peers and a 1st Team All-Conference offensive guard by coaches in the Suburban Conference.
Bailey has recently announced his verbal commitment to continue his career as a student athlete at Quincy University. The private liberal arts university in Quincy, Illinois reported an enrollment of 1,148 students in 2020. As part of the Great Lakes Valley Conference, the Quincy University Hawks compete at the NCAA Division II level.
Gary Bass is the head football coach at Quincy University and has made it a point to recruit players from the Show-Me State. Bailey will join 39 players who are currently on the Hawks roster from the state of Missouri. All games on the 2020 football schedule were cancelled for Quincy University due to the current pandemic. Bailey is looking forward to what lies ahead for him in the next step of his educational journey.
“The coaches at Quincy were welcoming and my visit went well there. It was a small school with a big town feel that I liked,” Bailey said.
“The biggest difference between high school and college football will be that I am living away from home and I don’t have two other sports, basketball or track to play.”
“I have enjoyed that I already have future teammates reaching out to me and making me feel like part of the family already.”
Among those that will be missing the contributions made by Bailey on and off the field are his position coaches, Gavin Grillo and Mike Tarrants. Both watched Bailey ascend to being a prominent part of the Eagles 10-2 record this season to coincide with a birth in quarterfinal state playoff round. Tarrants gruff voice could often be heard offering both constructive criticism and praise for Bailey as he worked through hitting the sled, shuffling through the steel chute, or perfecting a hook block against a hand shield during practice.
“The thing that I am most proud of for Jack is that he is an awesome example of doing things right is always the right thing to do. Jack is a great person, a dedicated student, a hard working athlete, and a role model for others,” Tarrants said.
“Other than being a terrific athlete, I believe Jack’s greatest attribute is his coachability. He is a true student of the game, who wants to be the best at his craft and can take coaching to learn. As a three-year starter at the right guard position, Jack always wanted to improve his technique, his football IQ, and his knowledge of line play.”
“Jack is a protector. Jack is a very laid back, caring, kind and loyal person. He has a wonderful personality that shows some of the best qualities of humanity. However, on the football field, Jack assumes the role of protector or guardian. ‘Between the whistles,’ Jack taps into his protector role and is a very physical player.”
“Someone who knows Jack outside of football would never guess the ability he has to physically dominate an opponent on the field. Jack is one of those players who will lay someone out and without a word, reach down and help them up after the play is over. In addition, Jack is one heck of a crappie fisherman,” Tarrants quipped with a smile.
Bailey becomes a growing number of his senior class to choose pursuing college football after high school. His leadership and smile will no doubt be missed in the Eagles locker room. Among those to pick up the torch Bailey passes will be Cooper Terry and Connor Heitman. Terry is Bailey’s best friend and started along side him last fall at right tackle. Heitman saw his first taste of varsity football as a sophomore at left tackle this season.