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July 1, 2011Mississippi junior-college offensive lineman Darone Bailey said he committed to Kentucky on Friday morning and thinks he has the chance to see major playing time next season.
Bailey, a 6-foot-6, 320-pound player for Coahoma Community College, made an official visit to UK two weeks ago.
He said he committed to coach Joker Phillips, offensive coordinator Randy Sanders and offensive line coach Mike Summers on Friday, Bailey's 19th birthday.
He expects to play guard for UK.
"Coach Phillips was excited," Bailey said. "All three of them were very excited."
Bailey plans to play this fall at Coahoma CC, graduate with his associate's degree in December, then enroll at UK in January, after which he could participate in spring practice.
He would have two years of eligibility remaining.
"When I came from the visit, I was feeling good about it, but I wanted to sort through things, so I gave myself some time to think about it, and I (made the commitment) today, which is my birthday," he said.
"... I just love the school, the environment. I got along well with the coaches, and I'm going to have a starting position. They have a great academic program. It just really feel like it's a match for me."
Bailey said UK was his only scholarship offer as a junior-college player but listed Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Southern Mississippi, Auburn, Tennessee and Oklahoma State among the schools interested in him.
Bailey is UK's 11th commitment for the 2012 recruiting class and the second offensive lineman to commit this week, joining Ohio high school player Zach Myers
"My coaches said it was a great choice, and my parents liked it," Bailey said. "I think my parents talked to Coach Phillips this morning after I committed, so everybody is happy."
Bailey's commitment came a day after UK unveiled new uniforms for the 2011 season - a modern design that Phillips said he hoped would draw recruits' attention.
"I saw them," Bailey said. "I love them; they look good."