10 things to know about USC’s Dion Bailey

Dion Bailey was a highly touted safety coming out of Lakewood High School in 2010.

Upon his arrival, he was converted to linebacker and enjoyed success as the Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. However, this fall could see a return of Bailey to his more natural safety position in his redshirt junior season.

He has six career interceptions and has started 24 games as a Trojan. This offseason he earned his bachelor’s degree in policy, planning and development.

Here are 10 things you may not know about one of the leaders of the Trojans defense.  

Fear “The Boogeyman”

Growing up playing Pop Warner, everyone feared “The Boogeyman” aka Bailey. He was given the nickname by his coach Rob Watson, who told a young Bailey, who’s quiet by nature, whenever he steps onto the field it’s “time to go to work.”

Watson told Bailey to get so pumped up that he would appear to the opposition in their dreams. Watson coached Bailey from age three until high school, including his time with the Carson Colts Pop Warner Program. Bailey was a Pop Warner teammate of Buffalo Bills wide receiver Robert Woods and University of Arizona cornerback Shaquille Richardson among others.

Hooper at Heart

Bailey grew up playing basketball and baseball until he got to high school when he decided he would focus on football only. However, of all the sports his favorite was basketball.

“I was a scorer for sure,” he said, “but I wouldn’t say I was a shooter but I was a scorer though.” 

Golden Domers

Aside from the Coliseum, Bailey’s favorite place to play is Notre Dame Stadium. The Trojans are scheduled to visit the Fighting Irish on Oct. 19 and Bailey’s excited about the team’s return to South Bend.

“(I love) the tradition and how impactful the game is on each team’s season,” Bailey said. “It’s just a great game especially when we play there.”

He called the team’s last visit to South Bend in 2011 “the best football experience” he’s ever had. USC came away with a 31-17 win thanks to a Jawanza Starling 80-yard fumble return for touchdown.

Twitter or Facebook?

“Twitter,” said Bailey, known as @dbailey_18 in the Twittersphere.
 
Hoop Dreams

Basketball was Bailey’s favorite sport growing up and even today he can’t resist the urges to get on the court, although he knows he has to be much smarter about it.

“I’m not out there trying to be Michael Jordan anymore, trying to get hurt or (anything) but that’s still the favorite thing I like to do,” he said.  

Late Night Snack?

“Oatmeal raisin cookies,” he said.

What’s in your iPod?

“I get my music from (USC running back) Silas (Redd), so whatever Silas has on his iTunes that’s what’s on my iPod,” Bailey said.
 
Who would play you in a movie?

Morris Chestnut.

Favorite movie?

Bailey is a fan of the war film “Troy,” starring Brad Pitt.

“I just like the whole message behind it,” he said. 

High School Days

For his favorite sports memory, Bailey goes back to his days as a Lakewood Lancer. It was the first round of the 2008 PAC-5 Division playoffs and Lakewood squandered a 14-point lead with under 5:30 to play against Servite.

The Friars forced overtime. Lakewood scored first in OT. Servite reached the endzone on their possession as well but elected to go for two and the win. Bailey broke up the pass in the endzone to lift Lakewood to their first playoff win in four year seasons, 35-34.

“(It was a) thriller,” Bailey said.