5-foot-9 / 180 pounds
Covington (GA) / Alcovy
It was somewhat of a transition year for Edwards, but not in the traditional sense. After making his mark early in his career as a potential All-American for kick returns, Edwards began to establish himself as a top flight safety as well in 2014. As the Rover in Duke’s 4-2-5 scheme, Edwards earned All-ACC honors from several publications after appearing and starting in all 13 games and logging 133 tackles, four interceptions, and 15 pass breakups. In addition to the traditional stats, Edwards earned praise for his durability by leading the team in snaps (1,068). And he got better as the year progressed, finishing the final four contests of the season averaging 13.5 tackles per game which included a team high 14 stops against Arizona State in the Sun Bowl.
Edwards returns for his four year in Durham as part of what could be the best safety duo in the league along with Jeremy Cash. Both are on the Walter Camp award watch list, but Edwards also adds another bit of value to the roster with his ability to make things happen in the return game where he owns a career average of 27.5 yards per return - best among active ACC players. In a season where Duke will be working in a new quarterback, every yard will count when thinking of starting a drive and field position.
While most of the preseason attention will likely go to the fifth year senior, Cash (and rightfully so), head coach David Cutcliffe has told every reporter, scout, and beat writer who will listen that Edwards is not just a good safety, but a great one. That’ll certainly help as the Duke secondary will be called upon early and often to set the tone for a defense that is mixing in several new players at key positions. Look for Edwards to be among the team leaders (if not the leader) in tackles once again and look for his speed and quickness to factor in for some additional takeaways and pass breakups. On special teams, we’d be surprised if he’s not taking a kick or two back to the house before the season’s over.
How he ended up in Durham
Edwards missed his entire junior season at Alcovy High due to injury, which allowed the two star prospect to fly way under the radar throughout his senior season as told by assistant coach Derek Jones:
"This was a situation where we didn't know too much about this kid,” said Coach Jones. “I’m not too sure anyone really did. There were no rating services on him, there were no lists in which he appears. He just came out of nowhere. We ended getting some game tape and going down to evaluate him and loved what we saw."
Following the game against North Carolina in 2012, Duke extended an offer to Edwards who quickly jumped at the chance.
High School Highlights
Four-year letterman at Alcovy under coach Kirk Hoffman ... helped Alcovy to a division championship as a senior and a pair of state playoff berths in 2009 and 2011 ... as a senior, carded 49 tackles, nine PBUs and one interception while gaining 1,978 all-purpose yards with 20 total touchdowns en route to garnering Region 3-AAAA Offensive Player of the Year honors ... second team all-state pick by the Georgia Sportswriters Association as a return specialist after averaging 41 yards per kickoff return and returning four kickoffs for TDs in 2011. [info from this last section gathered from GoDuke.com]
FB Forecast: S DeVon Edwards
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