Talented UNI Defensive Lineman Expected to Return in 2023
Sources have told Townsquare Media that 'signs appear' UNI defensive end Cordarrius Bailey will be granted another year of eligibility by way of a medical waiver. One source added that Bailey attended the Panther football team's most recent meeting.
Though nothing is set in stone, he's expected to return to the UNI defense in 2023.
Bailey, an Iowa State transfer, came to Cedar Falls out of the transfer portal last offseason and had an immediate impact on the field for UNI in 2022. Unlike most other transfers, he saw the field right away in UNI's initial matchup, registering four tackles against Air Force. Over the entirety of the season, the Clarksdale, Mississippi native posted 31 tackles, with 4.5 TFL, two sacks, two quarterback hits, and a forced fumble.
With his performance this season, Bailey was named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Newcomer Team along with Panther punter Noah Pettinger and wide receiver Desmond Hutson.
The news of Bailey's expected return couldn't come at a better time, as adding defensive line depth will likely be a priority for the UNI staff this offseason. Key contributors Khristian Boyd and Caden Houghtelling each spent time on the sidelines this season with their respective injuries, and the defensive line's production as a whole suffered. The Panthers registered just 10.5 sacks in 2022.
With the former Cyclone's return, the UNI defensive front is expected to bring back everyone who contributed in 2022. Defensive tackles Jack Kriebs and Boyd, and defensive ends Devin Rice, Houghtelling, and Bailey. Waterloo native Cannon Butler also returns after starting and playing significant time at both positions this season.
Though the aforementioned Panthers are returning on the defensive line in 2023, the UNI staff did offer a scholarship to transfer portal defensive end and former teammate of Bailey at Iowa State, Blake Peterson.