One young player who really came on toward the end of the 2009 season was RSF CB Kip Edwards 6'1" 200 lbs. 4.4 forty. Edwards emergence as a play maker this past season has coincided with, and been accompanied by increased self-confidence and maturity. He's a remarkably gifted athlete, with a size-speed combination that offer promise for this young player. He took time during bowl practices to visit with ShowMeMizzou.
Edwards talked about the transformation he has undergone since the beginning of the 2009 season. "Really, I just give all the credit to God, Coach Pinkel, and Coach Ford, and the D-line, and the linebackers, and the corners, and the safeties. Because really, they've just been a big help. Every last one of them has been in my ear. They've been keeping my spirits high, and keeping up my confidence. One day Coach Ford told me, 'Turn it on.' And, in the beginning, I didn't know what that meant. I guess, because I was 19. I was living the college life, having fun. Then, I was getting ready to turn 20, and I had a good talk with my Dad, and I understood what Coach Ford meant by 'Turn it on.' I never looked back after that. The D-line's been giving good pressure, and I feel like I'm just getting lucky right now."
Edwards talked about now knowing that he belongs in the Big 12. He has a very different appearance than when I interviewed him in August, much more confident, more mature.
I asked him about this new look, and about his ceiling as a player. "(The difference is) I know I belong! Yes sir! Really, I got to continue to work hard. I got to compete against myself every day. So, as long as I keep getting better, I can be as good as anybody."
Coach Pinkel talked about Kip Edwards, the player, and his ongoing maturation. "He is a red-shirt freshman, so he is a young player still. Players mature, whether it's physical, whether it's mental, or whether it's emotional. There's a maturity level that take players a little bit longer. You look back to William Moore. It took him a couple of years to get it going. Every player has his gage, and then it kind of clicks in............. He's done a lot of good things. And, there's a lot of competition there, and I think that's helped all of them. He did some real good things in the KU game. Locking up man to man, and had some good stops. He's got great athletic ability, great athleticism. That position takes a lot of moxie. It takes a lot of confidence. It's a little bit of an attitude that you have to have. Which he has a little bit of that in him. That's just the way he is. When you learn to channel that, and put that into how you play, that stuff really helps you be a better corner, just because of the difficulty of the position."
In the Tigers big win against Kansas, Edwards had 2 PBUs and an INT. He talked about what the success he experienced in that game has done for him. "It really helped my confidence. It really gave me confidence that I could play in the Big 12. At first, I was kind of judgmental about it, because I wasn't playing much. But, I was just playing special teams, having fun, helping the team. That's just what I wanted to do. But then again, I wanted to play corner. So, as soon as I got in and I made a couple of plays, it was like, OK. It's go time!"
Kip Edwards told me that he's familiar with some of the incoming freshmen from near his home in Texas. He mentioned Tristen Holt, Marcus Murphy, and Eric Waters. He's talked to all three, and said that he knew Murphy, whom he had played against in high school. He said that he knew Murphy as a DB when he played against him. He also said that he had played sports with Waters from peewee on up, and knows him well.