AGHS grad making most of college opportunity
It was a bit of a perfect storm. The campus, the athletic program, the engineering department, the family atmosphere – it all came together to assure recent Alba-Golden graduate Jacob Dailey …
AGHS grad making most of college opportunity
It was a bit of a perfect storm. The campus, the athletic program, the engineering department, the family atmosphere – it all came together to assure recent Alba-Golden graduate Jacob Dailey that he had made the right choice.
Dailey is in his second year at Mary Hardin-Baylor University (MHB) in Belton. As such he joined a football program which is on an incredible run of success.
The Crusaders of Mary Hardin-Baylor have come to define excellence at the NCAA Division III level. Dailey was the second-string center on both the 2021 NCAA Division III championship team as well as the 2022 squad, which was defeated in the national semi-final.
He is poised to report as the starting center next fall – an amazing achievement when considering the commitment required to be in line for a starting spot at Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Athletes at MHB, just as at all Division III universities, do not benefit from scholarships and all the trappings that scholarships entail. As Dailey admitted, the football program at MHB is very intense, and many start the program and cannot see it through.
“You just have to love it,” he admitted.
Dailey explained that the Crusaders recruit everyone who wants a shot at the team. That means a large number of recruits year after year. The weeding out process starts immediately, Daily confided.
Dailey explained how legendary Division III coach Pete Fredenburg built a culture in the football program at MHB based on the abbreviation TCC – which stands for Trust, Commit, Care.
The present head coach, Larry Harmon, who served for 18 years on Fredenburg’s staff, has continued this perspective.
“One of the things that really appealed to me about the team was the core values,” Dailey stated. “TCC means we trust our teammates, commit to them and care for them.”
In the same breath, Dailey spoke about the second part of the MHB formula: hard work.
“In short, it is a full-time job, a full-time commitment,” he summarized.
The idea of attending MHB came from Alba-Golden athletic director Drew Webster. Dailey explained that, somehow, Webster just knew it might be a good fit for him. He remains in regular contact with Webster.
It was a trip to visit the campus which sold Dailey on the small Christian university in Belton.
“I fell in love with the university on that first visit…the small campus, a great student-to-teacher ratio, the core values, the whole package,” he shared.
Once on board at the university, Dailey’s hard work started.
“I came to the team at no more than 250 pounds,” the 5’11” Dailey explained, “and the staff told me that I had to be between 285-300 pounds to make a go of it as an offensive lineman.”
By his own admission, he packed on the pounds that first year, but without a structured dietary program.
“I put on 35 pounds, but I dropped it all off that first summer and rebuilt myself back up to 285 the proper way.”
Playing weight wasn’t the only concern. Dailey described the incredibly intense work-outs and scrimmaging at MHB.
He admitted that thoughts of quitting would pop into his head every week it seemed, but he just fought through them.
“Every Wednesday there is chapel in my schedule, and that helped a lot,” he added.
The biggest challenge to his daily routine was striking the correct balance between football and the engineering degree requirements.
“Alba-Golden High School prepared me well, but the time management remains the biggest adjustment I make, every day,” he said.
With two full years behind him, Dailey has been able to benefit from the Crusaders’ success. He realized a good bit of playing time, because MHB often opened big leads against their American Southwest Conference opponents.
Dailey also had the good fortune of playing behind an All-American center, Jeffery Sims, Jr.
“He taught me so much,” Dailey remarked, “and he is a great teammate.”
With Sims pursuing pro-day work-outs, Dailey is next in the queue to lead the offense.
Concerning the technical aspects of line play in collegiate football versus high school, he noted that it is like a master class on the gridiron.
“As the center, on every play, I am communicating blocking assignments, blitz pick-ups and at times even communicating with the quarterback and running backs,” he said.
One of those teammates he faced on a near daily basis was Gladewater native and Crusader defensive lineman stalwart Tristan Green.
MHB draws the vast majority of its roster from across Texas, with a handful of out-of-staters thrown in. Followers of Texas high school football will recognize a number of names on the roster.
Dailey spoke highly of the level of competition at Division III, “It is like playing against the best player from each team at every position that you ever faced in high school.”
He cautioned against underestimating the quality of football played by smaller universities.
“You have to remain humble about Division III,” he shared.
Dailey was home for the holidays and had a chance to see his brothers Gavin Dailey, Boogie Trimble and sister Kalli Trimble in action on the hard court.
The son of Chad Dailey of Alba-Golden and Karla Crockett of Quitman was also happy to note that being in Belton allows his family opportunity to come see him play.
Area football fans will certainly be watching closely next fall as Dailey spearheads the Crusaders’ line.