Originally created 12/30/98

Peach Bowl notes: Bailey ready to make jump to NFL



ATLANTA -- His eyes roll and his speech becomes softer. It's not that Champ Bailey's adverse to this line of questioning, but he doesn't have an answer for himself, never mind the inquisitor.

The last day for underclassmen to apply for the NFL draft looms just nine days away, but Bailey -- the All-American cornerback from Folkston -- has not made a decision on whether he wants to play on Saturdays or Sundays next fall.

"Right after the game I'm going start thinking about it," Bailey said. "Right now we're just focusing on Virginia."

Bailey says he'll talk to his family and to Bulldog coach Jim Donnan. He'll also place a few calls to some players that jumped to the NFL after their junior seasons, although he doesn't have anyone specific in mind.

Most expect Thursday's Peach Bowl to be Bailey's last in a Georgia uniform.

"I told Champ we'd sit down at the end of the season and look at the pros and cons," Donnan said. "There's no question there aren't a lot of cons when you're talking about that high a pick.

"I would think pretty much this would be his last game."

Donnan has inquired with general managers and coaches that he knows in the NFL to see where Bailey could land. Donnan's wouldn't divulge what he learned, but said a number of teams are interested in Bailey as a receiver.

"After (Tim) Couch and (Ricky) Williams, I don't know who will go next," Donnan said. "But he'll probably be pretty close."

WAITING HIS TURN:

Mike Abrams spent last season on the scout team as a tight end. But the former Aiken High player worked on his punting over the summer and nearly earned the starting job at Virginia.

"I felt I was just as good," the redshirt freshman said. "But he has only one year left, and I'm determined to make sure I play here."

Junior Donnie Scott earned the job, and has attempted every punt this season.

While second-string punter isn't what he envisioned, Abrams thinks he can start the remainder of his Virginia career. It's better than scout team, where he suffered two concussions and a split chin that required 10 stitches last fall.

BASEBALL ON HOLD:

Quincy Carter's baseball career is on hold again. The SEC freshman of the year will not join the Chicago Cubs for spring training.

Carter wasn't going to enroll at Georgia this spring, but was prepared to take independent-study courses. He has decided to enroll, though, and won't report for baseball until April.

"I was going to go to spring training, but I don't have enough time," Carter said. "I need to stay eligible for next semester."

VACATION OVER:

Since arriving in Atlanta on Saturday, Georgia's practices were rather subdued as players enjoyed their Christmas break.

But the vacation seemed to end Tuesday with a loud and inspired practice at Morris Brown College.

"We just want to get into the game atmosphere," Donnan said. "We've had a good time here and we practiced pretty good. But everything's serious now. This is the real deal. We're just trying to make sure our enthusiasm matches what we're going against."

Todd Graff covers college football for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at (706) 823-3645 or tgraff@augustachronicle.com.