Bull­dogs’ Big Day

Franklin head­ing to Notre Dame, Bai­ley will play for Bos­ton Col­lege

Times-Record - - Front Page - By DAVID INSLEY dins­ley@star­dem.com

RIDGELY — With one year of high school re­main­ing, North Caro­line star ath­letes Ja’Mion Franklin and David Bai­ley are pre­par­ing for big fu­tures at Di­vi­sion I col­lege pro­grams.

On Tues­day, June 6, be­fore an es­ti­mated crowd of 200 friends, team­mates, and sup­port­ers in the school’s au­di­to­rium, Franklin an­nounced a com­mit­ment to play for Notre Dame, while Bai­ley an­nounced his de­ci­sion to at­tend Bos­ton Col­lege.

RIDGELY — Any foot­ball team tak­ing on North Caro­line High usu­ally has its hands full. In re­cent years, the Bull­dogs have been even harder to han­dle.

For the last three sea­sons, David Bai­ley has been a force on both sides of the line of scrim­mage, as a skill player, de­fen­sive back, punt and kick re­turner. As a sopho­more, Bai­ley played al­most ev­ery po­si­tion ex­cept down line­man, help­ing North Caro­line go 121, which in­cluded its first-ever re­gional ti­tle and state semi­fi­nal berth. Last year, North Caro­line reached the Class 2A East Re­gion cham­pi­onship again.

Ju­nior class­mate Ja’Mion Franklin has been a force to be reck­oned with on the of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive line. Though he played at Bal­ti­more power Gil­man as a sopho­more, Franklin played for Caro­line’s var­sity as a fresh­man, and was again a key cog for the Bull­dogs last sea­son.

With one year of high school re­main­ing, both star ath­letes are pre­par­ing for big fu­tures at Di­vi­sion I col­lege pro­grams. Tues­day af­ter­noon be­fore an esti-

mated crowd of 200 friends, team­mates, and sup­port­ers in the school’s au­di­to­rium, Franklin an­nounced a com­mit­ment to play for Notre Dame, while Bai­ley an­nounced his de­ci­sion to at­tend Bos­ton Col­lege.

Both ac­cepted full-ath­letic schol­ar­ship of­fers from their re­spec­tive col­leges.

“I’ve liked Notre Dame for about as long as I can re­mem­ber,” said Franklin, a 6-foot-3, 290-pounder who sports a 3.47 grade-point av­er­age. “I got of­fers from 20 schools to­tal, all over the countr y.

“I vis­ited about 10-12 of them,” Franklin said, “and I liked a lot of them, but Notre Dame drew me be­cause of all the his­tory and tradition be­hind it, all the his­tor y and foot­ball, and the aca­demics, and the coach­ing staff, they ... care about you as ac­tual peo­ple . ... Plus, it’s not of­ten you see teams com­ing out with gold hel­mets on.”

A 6-foot-1, 238-pound back who can bolt down­field with ease, Bai­ley re­ceived 10 of­fers from around the coun­try. With a 3.25 GPA, Bai­ley in­tends to pur­sue a de­gree in sports man­age­ment.

The de­ci­sion to go to BC, Bai­ley said, was the cul­mi­na­tion of a long, stress­ful, but ul­ti­mately happy process.

“Be­ing at Bos­ton Col­lege... when I went up on cam­pus, I had the gut feel­ing that I needed to be there,” Bai­ley said. “And the coaches kept in touch with me ev­ery week. I started look­ing into the col­lege a lit­tle more.

“And then when the time to de­cide came, we all sat down, talked about it, and said, ‘You’d be great for Bos­ton Col­lege.’”

Notre Dame runs a 4-25 de­fen­sive scheme seen more and more on pro­fes­sional teams, while BC’s of­fense is a pro-look, sin­gle­back at­tack.

North Caro­line head coach James McCormick thought both choices were ex­cel­lent fits.

“I think Ja’Mion is go­ing to have a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties at Notre Dame,” McCormick said. “You might not be on the field all the time as a fresh­man, but he’s go­ing to have a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties . ... And Notre Dame, they don’t seg­re­gate out the foot­ball play­ers from the stu­dent pop­u­la­tion. They get as­signed a room­mate who’s not an ath­lete. That’s be­cause they want the kids to have that kind of in­ter­ac­tion, that kind of con­tact with ev­ery­one else.

“You fig­ure that the coaches will say, ‘Yes, you’re some of the best foot­ball play­ers in the coun­try, but the stu­dents here who aren’t play­ing sports are some of the best stu­dents in the coun­try, too,” McCormick added. “And they’re fu­ture CEOs, doc­tors, peo­ple who’re go­ing to go pretty far in their lives. You want to make those kinds of con­nec­tions.”

BC’s alumni as­so­ci­a­tion, McCormick added, was “very ac­tive, and very sup­port­ive as well.”

“I thought, for a cou­ple of rea­sons, it was a re­ally good fit foot­ball-wise,” McCormick said of Bos­ton Col­lege and Bai­ley. “BC is more of a tra­di­tional, old-school, blue-col­lar down­hill-run­ning team. They’re gonna play good de­fense; they’re gonna run the ball.

“[David’s] a big back; he’s a good fit there,” McCormick said. “I also felt that, talk­ing with their coaches, they were gonna take care of David like he de­serves . ... I want both of these guys to come out with a col­lege [diploma] that meant some­thing. And I think that’s what they’ve just set up.

“BC is kind of a big deal, and Notre Dame, well... it’s Notre Dame. What more do you have to say?” McCormick added. “I think Ja’Mion will en­joy it [in South Bend], and Bos­ton, I think, is the kind of town that David will do well in . ... It’s just a good fit. They’re both just good fits.”

The Ea­gles and Fight­ing Ir­ish don’t face one an­other in 2018, when the two will be fresh­men, but a 2019 matchup is on the sched­ule, giv­ing the long­time friends the chance to shake hands as op­po­nents.

Franklin plans to ma­jor in com­mu­ni­ca­tions, with an eye on ra­dio or TV sports broad­cast­ing.

Bai­ley and Franklin are also on North Caro­line’s boys’ bas­ket­ball team. Bai­ley plays guard and for ward, while Franklin posts up in­side as power for­ward or cen­ter. Franklin was also a state run­ner-up in the dis­cus and shot put this past out­door track and field sea­son. Bai­ley has also run track, com­pet­ing in the hur­dles and re­lays.

Franklin and Bai­ley both live in Ridgely, a short walk away from one an­other. Franklin lives with his par­ents, James and La­toya, and 13-year-old sis­ter Jamyia, while Bai­ley lives with dad, David Bai­ley Sr., step­mom Latasha, and 8-year-old sis­ter Davine.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

North Caro­line High foot­ball stand­outs Ja’Mion Franklin, left, and David Bai­ley an­nounced their de­ci­sion to play at Notre Dame and Bos­ton Col­lege, re­spec­tively, on Tues­day.

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