Bulldogs’ Big Day
Franklin heading to Notre Dame, Bailey will play for Boston College
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.
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.