We celebrate the work of our local Division I and Power Five collegiate athletes, as we should. But several of our former Newton County standout football players are making just as big a mark on their respective campuses at non-Power Five or even non-Division I institutions.
Former Eastside defensive lineman and linebacker Shawn Bailey is one of those guys. After finishing his time as an Eagle and graduating back in 2017, Bailey went on to LaGrange College where he plays defensive end, works a job piling newspapers on a semi truck and prepares for a potential life-after-college in the medical field.
Before Bailey scooted back off to LaGrange, we got the chance to catch up with him for a spotlight interview detailing his college life experiences.
STOVALL: So, Shawn, I know it’s a little different for everybody. What’s the college life been like for you?
BAILEY: “It’s been a lot of studying, and me trying not to party. But really it’s just been me trying to make sure I’m doing what I need to do, keeping the right frame of mind and keeping my grades up.”
STOVALL: How is college play different than what you experienced in high school at Eastside?
BAILEY: “It’s a lot more intense to me, you know? The physicality of it right out of the gate, and especially the little things. You’re expected to know that right off the bat, so it’s great to come out here (to Eastside) in the offseason, work on technique and stuff so when you get back to college, you’re ready to go.”
STOVALL: That said, how do you feel like the Eastside program and coach Hoff helped prepare you to be ready for next level?
BAILEY: “Oh, every day after I was done, they kept working us really hard. They had the butcher sleds out every day, working out here seven days a week. They made me work really hard. Senior year I came in at 185 pounds and I had to get to 220, and the work here prepared me for the work I’d need to do in college to keep getting the weight on. It worked. Like I said, in the beginning of my senior year of high school I was 185 and now I’m at 231.”
STOVALL: That’s crazy. So what’s that workout regimen been like in college?
BAILEY: “Man, it’s that buffet and having workouts, morning workouts starting at 4 a.m. and doing that five days a week, six days a week. You look at that workout board and think there’s no way we can get this done. We’ve only got 20 minutes, but they’ll put it on you. And then it’s lots of protein. And lot of Gatorade.”
STOVALL: If you’re talking to a younger guy whose got aspirations of playing in college, no matter what level, and they’re asking, ‘how do I balance it all?’ What would you say?
BAILEY: “I’d say, trust the process. Get up early. Don’t be afraid to say no to going to a party. Just do the things you’re supposed to do on schedule and you shouldn’t have any problem doing what you need to do at all.”
STOVALL: How are you looking to improve from freshman college player to sophomore?
BAILEY: “I think I’m a lot more calm coming in. I’m not afraid of anything that’s coming at me, and not worried about any of those things. I’ve gotten a little bit bigger, but I’m working on my technique more. You don’t want to put on those pounds and then get slower, so I’ve been doing what I need to do to make sure that happens. I’m more comfortable this year, so I do think I’ll be ready.”
STOVALL: What are your plans post college and football?
BAILEY: “That’s the question everyone’s trying to figure out. It could go either way. I’m a biochemistry major, but I’m not sure yet. Depending on my next couple years, I could move on to getting a masters degree in my biochemistry work and then going into medical school. But either way, no matter what happens, I think I’ll be ready for whatever life brings.”