Hakeem Bailey is a nice addition to the WVU football defense

AMES, IA Ð NOVEMBER 26: Defensive lineman Reese Donahue
AMES, IA Ð NOVEMBER 26: Defensive lineman Reese Donahue /

Hakeem Bailey could be playing football for the Marshall Thundering Herd right now. Instead, he wound up at the flagship university of the state of West Virginia.

Anybody who knows West Virginia knows that the WVU football team is the superior program in the state of West Virginia. It took him some time to get here, but Hakeem Bailey is now with the Mountaineers and he is ready to make an impact.

The Atlanta native came out of high school in 2015 and intended to sign with Marshall. He didn’t go to Huntington at all, instead opting for the junior college route. Bailey ended up at Iowa Western, one of the top community college programs in the midwest.

Bailey redshirted in the fall of 2015 and was ready to play the next season. In 2016, Bailey recorded 40 total tackles, including 27 solo stops and 1.5 tackles for loss. He also had a team-leading five interceptions and nine pass breakups.

That garnered attention from Division I programs, which is where Bailey belonged anyway. He had the talent to play at a Division I school right out of high school, but it was good for him to get his grades straight before making it to the big time. It was good for his football game, too.

More from Hail WV

According to 247sports, Bailey had a composite rating of 84 which made him a three-star recruit. Ready to leave Iowa Western, Bailey had the choice between Cincinnati and the WVU football team. Being recruited by ace recruiter Tony Gibson, Bailey chose to become a Mountaineer.

Now his defensive coordinator, Gibson has liked what he has seen from Bailey in fall camp. As of July, he was the No. 1 cornerback on the depth chart. Along with Mike Daniels Jr. and Elijah Battle, Bailey has been in the coaches’ mouths as one of the top cornerbacks in the offseason.

“They’re going to be the three guys we throw out first and see what happens,” Gibson said.

He may not get the starting nod when the WVU football team takes the field against Virginia Tech on Sept. 3, but Bailey will definitely see some early playing time.

He stands 6-foot and checks in at 190 pounds, so he has the frame to get across the field and stay on his man. Look for Bailey to be at the center of many pass breakups this season.

Next: 5 best defensive players against West Virginia

He will be tested right away, but Bailey should stick in the rotation throughout the season. The WVU defense played surprisingly well last year, but without many returning starters new players will have to fill the void. In no time, Bailey will be a leader on what could be another surprisingly successful unit.