Former King’s Way Christian student-athlete says he will play for Ridgefield
Bailey Meek loved his time at King’s Way Christian.
He figured he would have finished high school there. Oh, he knew the football program was lacking in numbers, but going into his senior year, this was going to be his team.
Meek is, after all, the most decorated football player to come out of King’s Way Christian.
He expects to finish his high school days as a Ridgefield Spudder, though.
Bailey Meek also has 14 offers from Division-I programs. A 6-foot-6 defensive end, he originally had planned on making a decision in August, prior to the usual start of football.
But the recruiting process had changed significantly during the pandemic. Meek has not been able to visit any of the campuses. So he is putting on hold any decision, hoping he will be able to take some visits later this year or early 2021.
Strange times, indeed.
“It’s been a little bit crazy,” Meek said.
He has had some ask him to create a top-five list. He is not ready.
“I’m going to wait until I get on campus. I want to see these places before I make any final choices. Right now, it’s just been a bunch of phone calls and FaceTime.”
Meek posts every offer he receives on his Twitter account (@BaileyMeek23). Earlier this week, UNLV offered him.
He also has an offer from Dartmouth, and other Ivy League schools are interested in the student with a 3.96 grade-point average. Oh, and Army and Air Force want him in their uniform as well.
His parents pushed success in academics and athletics.
“You’ve got to have both if you want to play at the next level,” Meek said. “If you have both, it will open up more doors.”
Meek has a lot of doors to choose from now.
This new way of recruiting is not all bad, either, he said.
“You get to sit back and take it all in instead of having to travel every weekend,” he said. “You get to sit back and really think about it.”
Still, eventually, he wants to get out there before making a choice.
He also had a choice to make for his senior season of high school. He was still holding out hope for King’s Way Christian. But earlier this summer, the school shut down the program for a few years.
“I kind of saw it coming,” Meek said, noting that many of the more experienced players had moved to different schools. “Honestly, I agreed with (the school.) It just wasn’t safe.”
The Knights had very few players signed up for the upcoming season, many inexperienced.
Still, Meek said, if the Knights had fielded a team and Brian Rodriguez was the coach, he would have remained at King’s Way.
“I was trying to stay loyal to the school and Coach Rodriguez, who has helped me so much,” Meek said. “I felt I owed them that.”
Meek credits his coach for much of the attention he has received from college programs. It was Rodriguez who first made contact with college coaches, asking them to take a look at this talented player from a very small program.
Meek said early on that he did have doubts playing for King’s Way Christian. Rodriguez and his staff said Meek could still get noticed.
“Coach Rodriguez made it a theme: ‘Write your story.’ He assured me, it doesn’t matter where you go. If you’re good enough, they’ll find you,” Meek said. “It’s been a pleasure, playing with all my friends. It’s been real fun.”
Once football was taken away at King’s Way, though, Meek figured he would be moving on as well. While a season is not a guarantee due to the pandemic, if there is a season, Meek knew he would have to play somewhere else. Living in Ridgefield, he is in the process of enrolling at Ridgefield High School.
Technically, he could have remained a student at King’s Way Christian. The rules allow for athletes at private schools to play sports at their “home” public school if the private school does not offer the sport. Meek, though, wanted to be more than just a football player with the Spudders.
“I really want to step up on that team and be a leader. I figured I have to go to the school and be good friends with all these people, and then they’ll trust me on the field, as well,” Meek said. “It’s what you do off the field that makes them trust you on the field.”
He is all-in with his decision.
Now, just like all high school football players, he is in a holding pattern, hoping for some sort of football season.
“I can’t remember a day when I haven’t had football in my life,” Meek said. “Whatever I’m going through in life off the field, it disappears when I’m on the field. Working out, training with my boys, football is probably my biggest passion.”