Summerville OL Zack Bailey wrapped up a busy week by stopping by USC Friday with his grandparents. The visit coincided with the Gamecocks' first day of summer camp but Bailey was not there to workout buy rather to show his grandparents the campus and academic side of USC. Bailey's grandparents live in Florida and were also in Columbia for the Special Forces convention at the downtown Marriott.
"They gave us a tour of pretty much everything," Bailey said. My grandparents are big into academics. It was important for them to see the campus. They saw the academic center and talked to the academic people, saw the stadium, and talked to coach Elliott and got to meet coach Sands. They had fun."
Bailey is not going back to USC Saturday. He will attend a banquet with his grandparents and then return home. He is not finished with visits by any means. He will go to Georgia and North Carolina for sure in July. He is also considering visits to Auburn and Florida. And he's still thinking about flying out to Southern Cal for a visit.
Those schools he has or will visit are the ones Bailey is focusing on and he admits Clemson and USC, as a tandem, are ahead of the out of state programs.
"A lot of that is because I've only been to Clemson and USC," he said. "That's why this year I'm going to see campuses. I haven't seen Georgia's campus. I haven't seen Florida's. I haven't seen North Carolina's. So getting out there and seeing their campuses will help out a lot."
But it does appear those out of state programs trail the Tigers and Gamecocks in this competition.
"It's definitely a battle between those two," Bailey said adding that he goes back and forth with his leanings as he visits each school. "I like the campuses real well. I like Columbia and I like Clemson. They both have good coaches and are doing great. They are both in great conferences and things like that."
One of the key factors in Bailey's decision will be his comfort level with the offensive line coach. He has seen Clemson's Robbie Caldwell and USC's Shawn Elliott at work and like most everything else in the comparison of the two programs, the two are very similar in his eyes.
"I saw coach Caldwell the first time Monday and Tuesday how he coaches and I enjoyed it," Bailey said. "He definitely gets after it. He's a simpler guy. As long as you do stuff right he leaves you alone but he still teaches you. If you do stuff wrong, he's going to jump your butt. Then you've got coach Elliott who reminds me of coach (former Summerville OL coach Buddy) coach King. He's straightforward and he's going to jump your butt every single moment he can get but at the same time it's for the good. He's not doing it to hurt you. He's doing it because it's his job and it's going to make you a better football player. So they are both great coaches."
Bailey has been to games at both places and enjoyed himself equally at both. So he's made the trip west up I-26 several times and knows the route well.
"Clemson is in a great place and you're in a farmland pretty much but you're three hours away from home," he said. "While here (Columbia), it's in the capital but it's an hour-and-a-half away from home. There's pros and cons to each of them."
Bailey is still hoping to have a decision before the start of his season but if he's not 100% sure he will wait.