Armad Bailey’s big-play ability lands him NE News Def. Player of Year honors

KEENEY’S KORNER – Defensive Player of the Year

By Mike Keeney
Contributing Writer

Armad Bailey may not be the biggest guy on the football field, but he has a penchant for making big plays.

That was evident this season when the Nimitz High School safety intercepted six passes, returned two of those picks for touchdowns and also returned a fumble for a score. He also accounted for 42 tackles to help the Cougars win eight games and earn a second straight trip to the Class 6A playoffs.

Bailey’s outstanding play earned him the Northeast News’ Defensive Player of the Year Award.

His head coach said the 5-10, 160-pound junior is an instinctive player who has a nose for the football.

“Armad is a ballhawk,” Harmon said. “He loves the game of football. His mindset is to attack every day on the practice field and in games. He was a huge player for us. He’s a great player and a great kid.”

Bailey is a two-year letterman, and Harmon is glad he will be returning for his senior year. Bailey will be one of seven defensive starters back for a Nimitz team that won eight games this season and qualified for the playoffs for the second straight season.

“Armad is a huge leader for us,” Harmon said. “He’s the quarterback of our defense. He makes all the calls from his safety position. He’s an intelligent guy. If he could play football all year, he would.”

In addition to playing football, Bailey runs track in the spring to help improve his speed.

He said he will use the offseason and track season to lower his 40 time of 4.6. He said he thought he had a pretty good season as a junior.

“It was pretty good,” he said. “I just need to get faster a little bigger. I’ll work on that in the weight room and the track.”

When asked what he thought was his strength as a safety, it didn’t take Bailey long to answer.

“I’m good at coverage and when the ball is in the air, I go get it. I think we had a great season, but we want to improve on that next year. I’ve been playing football since I was four. I just love the game.”

And the Cougars love the thought of Bailey being back to patrol the secondary for another year in 2024.