Bailey signs with Hawks

Published 2:04 pm Thursday, July 5, 2018

Fuqua School football standout Ben Bailey formally announced his commitment to play football for Chowan University during a spring signing ceremony at Fuqua’s Gilmer Gymnasium with family, friends and coaches in attendance.

Bailey noted he has played football for about eight years, and he said he has wanted to play college football since “I’d probably say sixth grade.”

Being able to draw scholarships from an NCAA Division II school like Chowan and commit to it meant a great deal to Bailey.

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“It kind of gave me peace because I would stay up at night thinking about it,” he said. “… I was always up early in the morning working because I live an hour away from school. I live in Clarksville.”

His work ethic left an impression on Fuqua Head Coach Ben Manis.

“He’s the kind of kid that nobody’s going to outwork him,” Manis said. “He’s there before school working out. He would go after school working out.”

The coach noted that earlier in Bailey’s high school career, he struggled some when it came to catching the football, but he worked on that skill and has made it a strength now.

Functioning as both a running back and a slot receiver on offense and as a linebacker on defense, Bailey helped the Falcons reach the 2017 Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division III state championship game.

He has spoken with Chowan coaches and has a good idea of what he is in for as a member of the Hawks.

“The offensive coordinator told me that he plans to use me a lot like how I played at Fuqua this past year,” Bailey said. “So, I played running back most of the time, but I played a lot of receiver too when we threw the ball.”

Manis said that for Chowan, Bailey will “do a little bit of everything, which is great for him. He’s got some great natural ability, but he also has worked himself into what he does have. I’m really glad for the kid. He refuses to take the easy way out.”

The coach noted it is Bailey’s refusal to take the easy way out that has led him to getting the looks he has from different colleges.

Bailey said the main collegiate options he was considering were Chowan, Hampden-Sydney College and Saint Vincent College, which is located in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He conveyed a strong desire to stay close to home.

“Pennsylvania wasn’t really close to home, but they were recruiting me real hard, and I really liked the coaches there, but I guess I just always wanted to stay close to home,” he said.

For reaching his present level of achievement, Bailey expressed gratitude to his mother, father, coaches and God.

His mother, Tammy Bailey, noted she was not surprised that Ben is making something of himself.

“I always knew that he was going to go far in life and that he was going to be the man that he wanted to be,” she said.

As for the academic side of college, Ben Bailey indicated he is still trying to determine precisely what kind of man he wants to be in terms of a major.

“I’m going through some options, thinking about them, looking them up, but I have no idea, to be honest,” he said.

Like so many young college students, he has time to decide, and meanwhile, he will join the Hawks football team later this year for his first college season.