Analyst: Harrison Bailey has “Most Future Value” in 2020 Class with NIL Rules

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    Harrison Bailey begins his Tennessee football career as one of the most talked-about prospects in recent UT history. The highly-rated quarterback was a star in the high school ranks in Georgia, and he has the opportunity to play early in his Tennessee career even with the COVID-19 pandemic throwing a wrench into offseason plans.

    If Bailey is able to make a name for himself on the field while at Tennessee, he stands to make a name for himself off the football field, too.

    Back in April, the NCAA Board of Governors supported changes to rules about name, image, and likeness for student-athletes. As it stands right now, student-athletes will have the opportunity in the future to be compensated from endorsement deals, social media campaigns, entrepreneurship ideas, and personal appearances.

    Those rules have not gone into effect yet, but one national analyst believes Harrison Bailey has the highest potential of any prospect in the 2020 recruiting cycle to capitalize on those rules once they’re enacted.

    Mike Farrell, the Recruiting Director for Rivals.com, released a list of the 10 prospects from the 2020 cycle who were most likely to have the most future value based on the new NIL rules. Farrell’s piece is another part of a multi-part series on Rivals where they dissect the upcoming changes to the NIL rules and how it will affect student-athletes and universities.

    According to Farrell, Bailey tops the list of 2020 prospects when it comes to marketability.

    “Bailey is a five-star quarterback headed to one of the most rabid college football towns in the country,” Farrell wrote. “If he’s successful, he could be a star in terms of marketing.”

    On Rivals, Bailey finished the 2020 cycle rated as a five-star, coming in at No. 30 overall and ranking second among pro-style quarterbacks. The Marietta, Georgia QB place just inside the top-100 prospects on 247Sports, coming in at No. 99 overall in their composite rankings and finishing third among pro-style quarterbacks.

    Bailey notably places ahead of five-star quarterback and Alabama signee Bryce Young (4th), five-star quarterback and Clemson signee DJ Uiagalelei (5th), and several other high-profile SEC signees on Farrell’s list.

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    Why is that? The key in Farrell’s reasoning is his phrase “one of the most rabid college football towns in the country.”

    Not only are Vol fans very loyal and one of the biggest fanbases in college football (as evidenced by their gigantic social media presence, especially on Twitter), but they’re also starving for success and for a program-defining quarterback.

    Aside from Butch Jones’ back-to-back 9-4 seasons in 2015 and 2016 — the latter of which was fraught with missed opportunities and failures to meet expectations — and Jeremy Pruitt’s 8-5 campaign this past season, the Vols’ football program has had very little to write home about over the last decade (as Vol fans are well aware).

    Since winning the SEC East in 2007 and finishing the year with a 10-4 record, Tennessee has gone just 74-75 in the 12 seasons since, changing head coaches five times in that span and going a mere 33-63 in SEC play over that time.

    Aside from a solid bounce-back season from Jonathan Crompton in 2009 and a great individual career from Josh Dobbs from the end of the 2014 season through 2016, Vol fans have also been less-than-satisfied with Tennessee’s quarterback play over the last decade-plus, too.

    If Bailey can come into Knoxville and perform up to expectations and help lead the Vols back to relevance in the SEC and the college football world at large, there’s no question that he stands to become a huge star both on and off the field. And with how football-heavy Knoxville’s economy is and how extensive Tennessee’s fanbase is, having Bailey at No. 1 on Farrell’s list doesn’t seem too far-fetched.

    The 6-foot-5, 223-pound quarterback joined Tennessee as an early enrollee and participated in spring practices before they were canceled due to the coronavirus. Bailey comes off an impressive senior season at Marietta that capped off a strong high school career. Bailey finished his senior year with 4,674 passing yards, 50 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and a 69.8 percent completion percentage on 411 pass attempts. He also ran for three scores and totaled 76 rushing yards. He helped lead Marietta to their first state title since 1967. Bailey threw for 300 or more yards in six games this past season and threw multiple touchdowns in all but three games.

    Bailey finished his high school career with over 11,700 passing yards and over 100 touchdown passes. His passing yardage total is fourth all-time in Georgia high school football history, finishing only behind current Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (13,902), former Clemson star Deshaun Watson (13,077), and former Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm (12,745).