Edwards Catches Terps' Attention

6-foot-5 offensive lineman Derek Edwards has caught the Terps attention for his size and his play.

Standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing 270 pounds, Detroit Catholic Central (Detroit, Mich.) offensive lineman Derek Edwards can bring the pain. And with a frame that's college ready, the 2013 big man embraces the hits.

“I love head-to-head contact,” said Edwards. “We're in a run offense and we take it right up the middle about nine times out of ten. I love the contact, getting low and driving the ball up the field.”

Of course, Edwards' game isn't only limited to run-blocking. But, as head coach Tom Mach explains, it's the area his 2013 bruiser excels in.

“We're a ground-based offense, but we have multiple attacks,” said Mach. “We really like to run the ball so he gets a lot of opportunities to create holes and pull and trap and do things like that.”

As it turns out, not only does Edwards excel in this area, but he also thoroughly enjoys it, never hesitating for a second to label his pull blocking abilities as his favorite part of his repertoire.

Recognizing that offenses at the next level will be more varied in their play calling, Edwards is making significant strides to work on the less utilized skills of his game. “I feel like I could definitely improve my pass-blocking, my feet quickness and my hand-eye coordination,” said Edwards, who noted that those were all aspects of his game currently being worked on under the tutelage of Mike Barwis.

Barwis, who was the strength coach with Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia and Michigan, runs a gym in Plymouth, Mich., where many professional and college-level players train, according to Edwards. “He's been helping me out with a lot of aspects of my game,” said the lineman of Barwis.

Mach, for one, has no concerns about his lineman's ability to adapt at the next level. “I think if he continues to build up his strength, he'll be fine,” said the coach. “It's just a matter of getting him playing time, repetition and things like that.”

At the moment, Edwards holds offers from Arizona, Toledo, Western Michigan and Central Michigan. And, with summer rapidly approaching, the lineman is scheduled to camp at Michigan State, Syracuse, Cincinnati and Maryland.

During a spring break swing through the east coast, Edwards and family were able to drop into College Park for a visit that left the big man thoroughly impressed.

According to Edwards, his contact with the Terps began around Saint Patrick's Day, when he emailed Coach Tom Brattan. The two spoke over the phone, and from there, their relationship has taken off. “I just talked to him a couple of days ago and he's doing well,” said Edwards of the offensive line coach. “We're really starting to keep in touch.”

In terms of the visit, Edwards was able to rattle off a number of things he liked about Maryland. “I loved the campus. It was beautiful,” he said, noting that his parents also were more than satisfied with the program's student-athlete education department.

As Edwards and his family then made their way to the football part of campus, the star lineman found even more things to like. “I got to see practice, which I loved,” he said. “I loved how all the players got after it with each other and how all the coaches were really good with the players. I got to talk to Coach [Randy] Edsall and Coach Brattan in person and they were both real nice guys.”

As for his college future, Edwards says he wants to make a college choice before August 1 so he can focus on his last year of football, a season he has dedicated to redemption. “We went to the state championship game last season but we lost pretty bad,” said Edwards. “So, I'm definitely looking for redemption, along with a lot of other guys on the team.”

Looking ahead to Edwards' future at the next level however, Mach has no doubts that he has a star in the making. “He'll be able to adapt pretty regularly to any offense,” he said of Edwards. “He moves very well and he's got good size and strength. He has all the qualities of a good offensive lineman.”

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