Redshirt junior defensive back Dion Bailey has had yet another strong season here in 2013, and it could be his last as a USC Trojan. The safety-turned-linebacker-turned-safety told reporters at Howard Jones Field today that he’s strongly considering forgoing his senior season to enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
Bailey is one of a handful of defensive players with the option to jump to the next level after this season, including Hayes Pullard, Josh Shaw and George Uko.
The safety told the media that a number of factors play into his decision, which includes both recent NFL success on junior draftees like Nickell Robey, and the appointment of USC’s next head coach.
Bailey has been one of a number of players that are outspoken in voicing their support for the hiring of interim head coach Ed Orgeron. According to FOX Sports’ Kristen Rodgers, Bailey’s plan is to have a “sit down talk” with athletic director Pat Haden before making his decision.
So far this year, Bailey has seen plenty of time has a hybrid nickelback, following two seasons at linebacker. Despite playing at linebacker in his first two seasons, Bailey was a preseason All-Pac-12 selection at safety by a number of publications, and has produced in what has been his natural position. He’s tied with freshman safety Su’a Cravens for the team lead in interceptions with four, and ranks fourth on the team in tackles.
Bailey was the 2011 Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year, and is USC’s active leader in interceptions with an even 10.
NFLDraftScout.com currently ranks Bailey as the No. 2 draft eligible free safety.