A.J. Edds Leaves Lasting Impression in Iowa City

The Iowa Hawkeyes have looked to sign two tight ends in each of the past two recruiting classes to only come away with two total signatures. In the Class of 2006, they are once again looking to sign two tight ends and also hope to sign one athletic enough to present opportunities in unique situations like lining up in the slot. They found one candidate to their liking this past Saturday at camp in Indiana's AJ Edds, who will receive a Hawkeye offer this week.

Looking back on June 2004, there was a lot of recruiting news that came on the heels of Iowa's football camp. It was even more impressive due to the number of legitimate national prospects on hand. While this summer's camp was still a success without the news of commitments, there may not have been a better prospect on hand than A.J. Edds.

"My father, mother, and I all arrived in Iowa City on Friday evening, and took our own tour of the campus and the town in general," Edds said. "Then, on Saturday morning around 9 a.m. we were one of the first groups to arrive and we were greeted by Coach (Eric) Johnson, who would be my position coach and is the coach recruiting me. Right off the bat, he talked as if I already had an offer in describing how I would get around Iowa City, and the things to do."

"That was a real welcoming feeling that I received, and he was pretty straight forward in the fact that if I showed my capabilities out on the field that I was someone that Iowa had a big time interest in. I believe that I did that, and Iowa let me know to expect something in the mail this week. The Iowa coaches have an all business approach."

The Iowa staff was impressed, but colleges cannot extend scholarship offers during camps, as camps are not to be used as a recruiting tool.

But the family came away with the feeling that A.J. would be in good hands with the Hawkeye staff.

"While I was participating in a drill, I looked up and saw Coach (Kirk) Ferentz talking to my parents. At first, I thought just great, he is making the rounds, but after I saw him still standing there 20 minutes later, I knew there was serious interest. After the camp, I walked up to introduce myself to him, and he just looked at me with a grin letting me know he already knew who I was. He said I'd be great in their system, and he hoped that I would be willing to learn more about Iowa." Edds said.

"My parents, as much as I was, were genuinely impressed with Iowa coaches and the kind of people they were and how much genuine care they showed for players off the field," Edds continued. "They (parents) want me to play for coaches that no matter if I have a bad day on the field, they will be there for me afterwards, and they saw that with the Iowa coaches. Iowa doesn't come out in a tunnel of smoke nor do they beat their chests all the time after making plays. They take the steps necessary to win games, and afterwards they act as if winning is what they expected to do. Iowa plain and simply goes about their business."

A.J. also received great feedback from others on the Hawkeye coaching staff.

"Coach (Ken) O'Keefe came over to my parents to let them know that they were very interested in me and felt that I could be a nice fit in their system. That was very encouraging to hear, and he let me know on quite a few occasions that he was pleased with how well I ran some of their routes. He told me I did all the required things of being able to block, catch, and run in their system."

Edds felt that the Iowa staff was impressed with his effort in addition to his abilities.

"Coach Johnson let me know that he liked how well I took to his coaching. He liked the fact that I finished each drill, would run after making the catch, and even would pick the ball up off the ground if it was thrown there first."

"There was one instance in the weight room where we were doing overhead squats, and the kid in front of me was looking very awkward as if he were about to fall over," added Edds, who is also being recruited as a linebacker by some schools. "I went behind him to give him a spot, and one of the Iowa strength coaches told me to move saying the kid was alright. Later that day, Coach Johnson came up to me to say that is the type of kid they like at Iowa; the kind of person that offers help to a teammate and even that kid told me he was glad I was there to help so he didn't fall flat down."

While Edds certainly made a strong impression at camp, he learned of a few areas where he could improve.

"Coach Johnson showed me that if I gave a head fake in a certain direction on some of my routes before I made my break that it would create more separation, and it ended up making total sense. When I worked out at outside linebacker for a bit, I also learned to open my hips a bit more when making a swim or rip move in some of my pass rush techniques."

Edds will attend one final camp this weekend at Ohio State where he hopes to earn a Buckeye offer, and then he will narrow his list further in the first week of July.

"Right now, Iowa and Purdue are the two certainties as far as making my final list. After that, Georgia Tech is in that third spot, and if Ohio State were to offer, they would join them. I want to get my list of schools down to around four or five next week, and then select two or three official visits around the start of ball before making my decision."

Edds expanded on his two current leaders.

"Iowa and Purdue have so many similarities with how they expect great things to happen, and they have such a workmanlike approach to their programs. The only difference is that Purdue is a bit closer to home, but they are recruiting me for defense. I don't really have a preference of which side to play on, but Purdue has at least told me they'll put me on offensive if it doesn't work out on defense. Really, I haven't been able to talk to the players at either school, and that is what I'll be looking forward to doing in the future."

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