Boys Varsity Football
Columbus North rising senior Tristan Bailey has committed to Illinois State University for football beginning in the 2018-19 academic year.
A 6-4, 185-pound wide receiver, Bailey totaled 25 receptions for 309 yards and six touchdowns in 2016 when the Bull Dogs went 9-2 and finished as runner-up in Conference Indiana and in the sectional.
“First and foremost, I’d like to thank God, my family and the Columbus North coaching staff for giving me countless opportunity to become the best football player I can be,” Bailey said in a statement on Twitter to announce his commitment to the Redbirds. “I am blessed to be surrounded by amazing people who push me to the max every day.
“I would also like to thank Coach (Lamar) Conard, Coach (Brock) Spack, Coach (Kane) Keirnan and the rest of the (ISU) staff for granting me this opportunity. I have talked to my coaches, family and friends and have made the decision to commit to Illinois State.”
At Illinois State, Bailey joins a Redbirds’ program that went 6-6 in 2016 and 4-4 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference while earning a spot in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs for the third consecutive season and fourth time in five years. Spack is entering his ninth season as the team’s head coach. ISU has gone 62-35 in Spack’s first eight years with the Redbirds.
Bailey also considered opportunities at Eastern Michigan, Southern Illinois and Indiana State. In addition, he visited Miami of Ohio and Indiana, but Illinois State was the only program that had offered him a scholarship.
"(Illinois State has) a really good past with wide receivers and coaching them to be as good of players as they are able to be," Bailey told The Republic. "I think with the skills that I bring to the table, Illinois State can turn me into a better football player."
Bailey is the second football player in the Columbus North class of 2018 to make a college commitment. Earlier, defensive back-receiver-return man J.D. Harris announced his plans to attend Northern Illinois University beginning in the fall of 2018.
Columbus North coach Tim Bless is looking for a good season in 2017 from Bailey.
"He has all the physical tools it takes to be an impact wide receiver," Bless told the newspaper. "We're still working on developing consistency, but we have big plans for Tristan."