Dion Bailey to enter NFL draft

Updated: December 23, 2013, 5:10 PM ET
By Johnny Curren | ESPN.com

USC junior safety Dion Bailey announced Monday that he'll forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the 2014 NFL draft.

"My time spent here at the University of Southern California has been a blast. I wouldn't take back or trade anything that's happened throughout these past four years that I've been here," Bailey said. "Making the decision to attend this university and play football here has really changed me as a man and helped me grow for the better."

[+] EnlargeDion Bailey
Chris Williams/Icon SMIDion Bailey led USC with five interceptions this season.

Bailey said he made the decision after talking with his parents and consulting with others after USC's 45-20 victory over Fresno State in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday. He had 61 tackles and a team-best five interceptions as the Trojans' starting nickleback this season.

The highly touted safety prospect from Lakewood, Calif., was moved to strongside linebacker in 2010 and established himself as one of the team's most dependable defensive playmakers for two seasons. After having shoulder surgery, he moved back to safety at the start of this season.

Bailey, who has already earned an undergraduate degree in policy, planning and development, leaves USC having amassed 222 tackles and 11 interceptions.

"The main reason behind ultimately making this decision is that me and my parents feel like I've done a lot in my career here at SC, making all-conference at two different positions, being pretty productive," Bailey said. "I just feel that there isn't much more I can do to improve my individual performance numbers-wise."

Scouts Inc. ranks Bailey as the No. 165 overall player for the 2014 draft.

Bailey, who met with new USC coach Steve Sarkisian, said NFL success by former USC teammates Robert Woods and Nickell Robey had an impact on his decision.

"It definitely gives me the courage and the confidence in myself that I can be successful at the next level," Bailey said.

Johnny Curren

WeAreSC, Reporter

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