Sprayberry offensive tackle Bailey Sharp committed to the Tigers over the weekend, on a visit to the Auburn campus.
The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Sharp chose the Tigers among a list of 19 major-conference schools that offered him, according to 247sports. He listed Georgia and Clemson as the runners-up.
“I just want to go into my senior year and enjoy it,” Sharp said. “I did my research, went online, checked out a lot of schools and hung out with a lot of coaches, but Auburn was the best fit.”
Sharp said his decision hinged on the quality of the school’s academic program, the coaching staff, the close proximity to his family and the close proximity the Auburn football facilities are from where he will be living.
Sharp is also expected to grow better acquainted with Auburn’s future quarterback by the time they arrive on campus. Like Sharp, Queen is a rising senior.
“It’s funny. Me and Tyler Queen, we played on the same touchdown club team at North Cobb,” Sharp said. “I know Tyler very well. Now that I have committed, me and him will start talking.”
Sharp wanted to play football at a college where his family and relatives can make day trips to see him play. More than 20 family members squeezed inside coach Gus Malzahn’s office over the weekend to witness Sharp shaking hands with the coach who took the Tigers to the BCS championship game last winter.
“I wanted my family to commit with me,” he said. “I brought all 27 of them to come with me and all of us were in (Malzahn’s) office. We shook hands and did it right there.”
Sharp’s size and his ability to defend the pass and create running room around the edge helped him attract attention from colleges, and it’s attention that came in a short period of time.
Sharp didn’t get much playing time as a freshman at Thomas County Central High School in south Georgia, but after transferring to Sprayberry his sophomore season, he was called upon to start right away. It was with the Yellow Jackets that he quickly developed into a capable lineman that can protect both the pass and the run.
“He grew up quick,” Sprayberry offensive line coach Chris Davis said of Sharp. “He matured and got mentally stronger, and he really picked up on the offense. He got tenacious and nasty, and that’s what you like.”
Sharp will have one more season at Sprayberry in an attempt to improve the Yellow Jackets from last year’s 2-8 record.