Romeoville’s Caleb Bailey commits to Western Michigan
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org January 16, 2013 11:16PM
Updated: January 17, 2013 9:21AM
Romeoville senior inside linebacker Caleb Bailey was recruited early on by Western Michigan.
However, it was not until former Northern Illinois standout receiver P.J. Fleck was hired last month to replace Bill Cubit as the Broncos’ head coach that things fell into place.
Bailey made his official visit last weekend and committed this week to accept a football scholarship to Western Michigan. National letter-of-intent signing day is Feb. 6.
Romeoville finished 0-9 last season, yet the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Bailey earned a spot on the Herald-News All-Area Team. He finished with 104 tackles, 11 for loss, with two sacks. He intercepted a pass, forced three fumbles, recovered three and rushed for 288 yards and three touchdowns.
“I definitely feel I made some strides,” Bailey said. “Even though we didn’t have the record we would have liked, this year was easier for me because we had bigger guys on the line and more experience around me. It wasn’t as easy for teams to focus just on (blocking) me.”
Bailey is the highest-rated recruit to date for Western Michigan’s 2013 class. He received a rating by Rivals.com of 5.5 on a scale from 4.9 to 6.1.
He said he plans to gain weight over the summer and be ready to play as a freshman as opposed to red-shirting. The master plan is for him to play inside.
“As long as I maintain my speed while getting bigger, which I will be able to do, I should be fine without red-shirting,” he said.
Bailey’s dream had been to play at USC. He lived in southern California as a youth. His family moved to Harrisburg, Ill. when he was 7 and to Romeoville as a high school freshman.
However, he said there is nothing wrong with playing in the Mid-American Conference.
“This conference is up and rising,” Bailey said. “There’s a lot of good players in the MAC.”
In fact, Bailey said he probably would have committed to Northern Illinois if not Western Michigan.
“NIU was second on my list,” he said. “With their record and going to the Orange Bowl, I know some kids who are there and they seemed like a good group of guys when I visited.
“But then they had the coaching change (Dave Doeren leaving for North Carolina State), and I really like the coaches at Western Michigan. It’s probably the youngest coaching staff in the MAC, but they have a lot of experience. Coach Fleck has NFL experience.”
Ball State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio), Toledo and Wyoming also offered.
Bailey said he is considering majoring in engineering, but that still is open.