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Kirtland alum Jack Bailey will transfer to Northwestern for his final season of college football

Apr. 2—Jack Bailey is coming back to the Midwest to finish his college football career.

A former All-Ohioan from Kirtland, Bailey is transferring to Northwestern to play offensive line for the Wildcats. The move comes after playing his first three years at Kent State University and then last year at Colorado.

Bailey announced his move last week on X (formerly Twitter), saying, "So excited to get to work and call this place home! Go Cats! LETS GOOOO"

Bailey (6-4, 300) said he also considered Pitt and North Carolina State, but that his ties and bond with Northwestern's offensive line coach, Bill O'Boyle, was a major swaying factor in his decision. O'Boyle was Bailey's offensive line coach at Kent State and also last year at Colorado, where Bailey started all 13 of the Buffaloes' games at guard.

"We've been through a lot together, me and him," Bailey said of his years with O'Boyle. "With one year left, there's no way I could leave him. I'm going to stick it out with him and get to the next level.

"I can't wait. CANNOT wait. The coaching staff there is amazing, (head coach Dave) Braun, (offensive coordinator Zach) Lujan, Coach O'Boyle. I visited there March 27-28, watched a practice and sat in on a few meetings. I knew right then that's where I wanted to be."

Bailey spent spring break back home in Kirtland and returned to Colorado on April 2 to finish this semester's classes toward his master's degree in organizational leadership. He said after this semester he'll be one class short of his master's degree at Colorado, but will return in the future to finish that degree.

Now his eyes are set on Northwestern, where he plans to not only help the Wildcats this year, but also down the road with his tutelage of younger players. He will arrive in Evanston, Ill., in June ready to go to work to earn a starting position on the offensive line while also helping teach younger players on the Northwestern roster.

"I want to come in and be a leader," he said. "I want to help the young guys any way I can."

As he was when he played at Kirtland, Bailey is a workout machine in the weight room. His bench-press is 400 pounds and his squat is 650. He said he hasn't deadlifted "since my days back home with Coach (Ray) Sullivan" but said he last put up 670 pounds.

"What am I bringing to Northwestern?" he said. "Experience and leadership. I want to be as vocal as I can and provide experience from what I've learned and pass it on to the rest of the team."

Northwestern opens the season Aug. 31 against Miami (Ohio), a familiar face for Bailey via his days at Kent State. The Big Ten schedule is loaded with teams Bailey grew up watching on TV in Kirtland — Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin and more.

"I grew up watching Ohio State," he said. "There was a Big Ten game on TV every weekend for me. I'm excited to play against them."

Bailey said that while this is his last year of playing college football, he doesn't plan on it being his last year of football. He hopes for a shot at the NFL.

"I'd love to go to the next level, definitely," he said. "I just need to have a good season, keep my head down, keep going and whatever happens, happens."