JaQuan Bailey is back after sitting out most of 2019 with a foot injury and taking the redshirt season he still had available to be able to come back for the 2020 season. Bailey gives another boost to a defensive line that needs to play better during the 2020 season.
I touched on this during the defensive preview podcast, but Iowa State’s defensive line took a step back in 2019 compared to the level of play in 2018. Part of it was the pressure from the inside. The other part was the loss of JaQuan Bailey early on in the season. Bailey did not tally a single sack before his injury last season. He did rack up 10 total tackles.
Bailey is one of those guys that is a defensive end first, but is able to stunt inside and make an impact. When you lose a guy of that caliber, it limits what you can do defensively and makes a giant hit to your depth. Now he’s back and the entire defensive line has a ton of potential heading into 2020.
The main reason I chose JaQuan Bailey as this week’s defensive player to watch is simple. Career sack leader. It’s going to happen this game. Louisiana has a talented quarterback in Levi Lewis. Though their running game is strong, I do think there will be plenty of opportunity for Bailey to get to the quarterback on Saturday. Both tackles that Bailey will be facing have some experience, so this could show what kind of JaQuan Bailey we are going to get in the 2020 season.
It’s going to be fun seeing him back on the field on Saturday.