After a solid prep career at Cleveland (Miss.) East Side, Darone Bailey played last fall at Coahoma (Miss.) County Community College. Not knowing what to expect last fall, the 6-foot-6 and 315-pound offensive lineman met his expectations last year in his first at the juco level.
But now Bailey expects more heading into his sophomore season.
"It was kinda crazy at first," said Bailey, who said he expects to graduate in December. "I played center and guard but guard was my main position. In that first year I really improved a lot with my strength, my techniques and just my overall knowledge of the game. I want to keep improving on those things and make first-team all-state this year."
During his high school recruitment, Bailey drew steady interest from the in-state Division 1 programs and held offers from Mississippi State and Southern Miss.
Now two years later, Bailey noted those same programs are still showing interest.
"I don't have any offers right now," said Bailey. "But my coach told me that Southern Miss planned to offer me later this spring. Mississippi State is also still recruiting me and they are the main one sending me letters. They are still strong with me in my book and I still have a good relationship with their coaches.
"I think more schools will also show interest this summer and this fall. I just have to keep proving myself and my coach said more schools have already started to ask about me."
Just a couple of weeks ago, Bailey took the opportunity to check out the Bulldogs in spring practice. He took an unofficial visit to Starkville and caught MSU's first scrimmage of spring drills.
"It was nice and I liked what I saw," said Bailey. "I saw them practicing with a lot of intensity. No one takes a play off and they go hard every play. I got to watch the O-line a whole lot. They still need some improvements with some new guys but I liked Quentin Saulsberry the most.
"I also think Coach (John) Hevesy is a great coach. He will always have his guys fundamentally sound and make sure they are in one accord. You can't take a single play lightly with him as their coach and I like that style of coaching. He always has his guys getting better."