RECRUITING: A Busy Summer Ahead For Edwards

One of the nation's most highly touted recruits is Lorenzo Edwards from Orlando Edgewater. At 6-2.5, 218 pounds with another year of growth ahead of him, there's speculation that he may outgrow safety for a linebacker position at the collegiate level. Gator Country interrupted Lorenzo's busy off-season schedule to get a few details on his plans for the remainder of the summer.

It's 8:26 PM on a Friday evening when I give Lorenzo Edwards a quick phone call for an update on how his recruiting process is going...

JR: "Hi, Lorenzo?"

LE: "Yeah, this is him. Sorry, can you hold on for one quick second?"

The sound of ping pong balls being ripped back and forth echoes in the background ... there's a sudden roar of victory, and Lorenzo gets back on the phone.

LE: "Sorry about that, do you mind if I call you back at 9:00 when I get off? I'm at work right now."

JR: "Not a problem at all. Don't overdo it (both laughing)."

It's the end of June, and Lorenzo has just finished up his summer studies. He's taken a few trips and unofficial visits throughout this first half of summer but in reality, he's been somewhat reserved because of his class schedule. Now that he's got plenty of time to travel and make his rounds ... Let the games begin!

"On July 5th thru the 15th, we're taking a road trip up to South Carolina." Edwards said. "We're going up to visit Duke, Wake Forest, and Clemson. Then on the 21st of July we'll be down at Florida for the Friday Night Lights. That should be a lot of fun. I'm not really going to any camps ... just unofficials."

In fact, Lorenzo plans on making a lot of unofficial visits with the remainder of his summer. His list of offers has grown so large recently that he simply won't have time to see everyone but that's definitely not going to stop him from trying. Once his senior season gets underway, he'll settle down for his five officials.

"The officials will probably be during the regular season," says Edwards, "although I originally thought they'd be later. I'll figure out my five officials and I'll also squeeze in some more unofficials on some weekends throughout the season."

One thing fans are learning about Lorenzo is that he's a recruit that loves to keep everyone guessing. Throughout the process, he's been very quiet about his thoughts on particular schools and swears he has no favorites or leaders. He chooses his words carefully and tries not to give any advantage to one school over the other.

Why? Well some might speculate that it's a marketing ploy to keep his recruiting stock high but in reality, Lorenzo simply wants to focus on his senior year and season, and most importantly, his grades. When he's had plenty of time and travel to gain the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision, then and only then will he narrow the choices down. One constant in this entire process, however, is that it's academics first, football second.

"This whole process has been fun," says Edwards, "but I'm mainly trying to focus on my academics right now and keeping my priorities straight. I've been lucky enough to get a lot of offers of scholarships but I just haven't been able to sit down and focus on narrowing them down yet. I'm really just trying to focus on my grades."

Proof that he's a study first, play later kind of guy is evidenced with his 3.5 GPA in college prep classes at Edgewater. The long term goal is a degree in architectural engineering and he makes it clear if a school can't accommodate his major, it won't make the final cut.

"Wherever I go, they'll have a great architecture program," he said. "That's my number one priority. That's basically the main thing I'm looking for in a school. Then the coaching staff and how well I bond with them, and then the position details."

With Florida ranking among the top engineering programs in the nation, Lorenzo definitely has one eye on the Gators.

"Oh yeah, Florida's a great program," he said. "I believe they have the highest graduation rate in the SEC. I've done my homework on them and that really stood out to me. Their athletics are really up and coming, and you know they had the number one recruiting class in the nation last year and it won't be too long before they're competing for a national championship."

Lorenzo has been to The Swamp many times so he's quite aware of the zoo that the stadium becomes on game day.

"I've actually been to a lot of Florida games," says Edwards. "The Swamp is incredible. I'd especially love to hear the crowd sing the alma mater if I played there. I think that's really cool."

Florida is actively recruiting Lorenzo on a daily basis, and he's very impressed with the consistency of the coaching staff. He's had a chance to meet most of the coaches and he's already in the process of forming relationships with them.

"Coach Charlie Strong and Coach (Urban) Meyer are the ones I've mainly had the chance to deal with," he said. "I've talked with Doc Holliday some too, but just briefly. They send me handwritten letters all the time, and text me a lot."

So now the big question --- where exactly is he going to fit in at the collegiate level? He's always played safety so that's the position he prefers. He has the speed to hang with the best of them when it comes to coverage. The big issue will be his size by the time he steps on a college football field. He's already approaching linebacker size and he's got plenty of time and room and time to grow.

"I would prefer safety," says Lorenzo, "but I still have to keep it in the back of my mind that I can play linebacker, too. I understand that the coaches are going to do what's best for me at the time."

With all the offers and major D1 programs wanting Edwards to play ball for them, you'd think he'd basically just narrow his selections down to those schools that just want him at safety, right?

"No, actually, I'm really open because my dad told me I have to keep it in the back of my mind because if I get up there and they decide to move me from safety to linebacker, it won't be that big of a surprise to me," he said. "So I'm just trying to be prepared for both. I'm really open, because I'm very capable of playing both."

So who wants him at safety and who's recruiting him at linebacker?

"Pretty much every school I'm talking with right now wants me at safety, Florida included," says Edwards. "Like I said, I feel I can play both so I'm going in with that mentality but I would definitely prefer safety. I won't eliminate a program because they want me at linebacker though, because there's always that chance that the school I choose will move me anyway."

For now, he's just going to stick with is well thought out plan to visit and take notes. There is plenty of time for him to narrow things down. Judging by the way he's handling things already, there is no question that this polite, "yes sir" and "no sir" young man has everything planned out.

While it may take a little bit of time for the recruiting plans to take shape, he has two other plans ready to implement.

"I have two goals for my senior year," says Lorenzo, "Number one, I want to get straight A's. Number 2, I'm very serious when I say that I want to double my stats from my junior year."

Don't be surprised if he accomplishes both.

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