FRESNO, Calif. – The Fresno State football team is about halfway through spring ball, and the 15 spring practices this year are certainly offering a chance for some new players to emerge, considering the Bulldogs lost 12 starters off last year’s Mountain West Championship squad.

But one key guy on last year’s title team will be returning on defense, fifth-year middle linebacker Levelle Bailey.

The senior played right away as a true freshman back in 2019, and was named a Mountain West Honorable Mention linebacker the last two seasons.

Bailey led the Bulldogs in tackles a year ago, but decided another year in college would serve him well, as he works towards a goal of eventually playing in the NFL.

He leaned on his Bulldog coaches, especially head coach Jeff Tedford and linebackers coach Tim Skipper to help him make that decision.

“My trust and belief in our coaches. Coach Skip, Coach Tedford, they know what’s best for me, in developing me to go to the next level,” said Bailey after a recent practice. “Sat down with Coach Skip, sat down with Tedford. They believed that I should come back another year, develop more, especially after Evan left. He kind of laid the foundation for me to actually lead the younger guys coming in and be that person.”

Bailey is one of seven defensive starters returning for the Bulldogs.

He says he’s been watching NFL film to learn some new techniques and has gotten even stronger this offseason.