Hawks to Host Tall Texas Cornerback

<p>Not only will Naaman Forest defensive back Justin Edwards be making an official visit to Iowa City this weekend, he has already made plans to follow the Hawkeyes down to Orlando where he will watch them play LSU in the Capital One Bowl. Edwards is making the trip to watch his cousin who is currently on the Hawkeye roster. Find out more exclusive comments in this update.

College coaches across the nation will always factor in the importance of family connections when it comes to the recruiting process.

For instance, take the recruitment of Justin Edwards, who received a scholarship offer from the Hawkeyes only two months ago.

"I had known quite a bit about Iowa because my cousin, Lee Gray, plays for them," said Edwards. "Then, all of a sudden, they sent me a scholarship offer before they even called me for the first time just two months ago."

The Hawkeyes were unaware of the family connection at the time they offered, but finding out only put the icing on the cake for Hawkeye assistant Ron Aiken.

"When I told Coach Aiken, he was very excited to hear about it. Lee has told me it is pretty exciting times up there, and just like me, he didn't know much about Iowa before taking the visit. He sure likes it up there now though, and my brother keeps telling me I'm probably going to fall in love with it, too," Edwards said.

His brother Marques Thompson, a former player at Texas Southern, has played an integral part in Edward's recruitment in making sure to advise him at all times.

Thompson decided that one way to help his brother relax as well as take in an Iowa game would be to travel to Orlando to watch cousin "Big Lee" and the Hawkeyes play in the Capital One Bowl.

"Yeah, I guess you can say that he is the high roller around here," joked Edwards. "I just know I'm going to see about everything I possibly can taking an official visit there, as well as traveling with their fans down to the bowl game."

Despite the family connection, Edwards says it has been Coach Aiken that has impressed them the most about Iowa to this point.

"My brother and I were just talking about how Coach Aiken has been the most well-spoken coach to come through our house. What I liked the most is that he told me up front if he didn't have an answer he would get back to me. A lot of coaches just starting going off on a rant when they really don't have the answer."

"I asked him about the school of Business at Iowa and where it ranked. He said he would find out for me, and last Friday I received all the information I could ask for on the school of Business at Iowa."

Edwards hosted Kansas Jayhawk assistant Dave Doeren on an in-home visit this evening, and also has the Jayhawks under strong consideration.

"Really, it is pretty even between Kansas, TCU, and Iowa on my list right now, but I also know I haven't seen Iowa yet," added Edwards, who will be joined by teammate Jacob Lacey on his official visit this weekend. "I am expecting to be amazed with my visit to Iowa this weekend, though."

Everyone has recruited Edwards as a free safety to this point in his recruitment, except for the Hawkeyes, who have told Edwards they have other plans for him.

"Iowa wants me as a cornerback. They said I'd be the tallest cornerback they've ever had at Iowa. They liked the way I covered from my free safety spot, and said that I fit their scheme well," stated Edwards."

Edwards had one Big Ten school attempt to stop him from visiting Iowa this weekend.

"I had a school call both my head coach and me, telling us that Iowa was no longer interested in me so I should not take a visit there this weekend," added Edwards, who says he didn't believe the opposing coach. "Well, I guess my head coach called Coach Aiken immediately. I then got a call from Coach Aiken like five minutes later, and he said that was false. He told me from the beginning he would be 100% upfront with me, and he has been throughout the whole process so I know if they didn't like me he'd at least tell me."

Edwards says the factors that will most influence his decision are a family atmosphere, ability to help him develop for the NFL, opportunity to play early and a good education.

Stay tuned to this weekend to see if Iowa best fits those qualifications.

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