Latest offer goes to Florida lineman

Nebraska may not be looking for a lot of linemen, but they are keying very hard on the ones they want. The latest offer for a linemen went to Bartram Trail's (Jacksonville, FL) Thomas Edenfield. He's big, quick and intelligent and in the last two weeks, he's become one of the most popular linemen in the southeast.

Two weeks ago offensive lineman Thomas Edenfield didn't have a single written offer. Two weeks later he has four. It started with the home-state gators, followed by Clemson, Louisville and just yesterday, Nebraska.

Don't ask Thomas to explain it, because he can't. It just sort of happened. "Yeah, that's about it. It started with Florida and it just went from there," Edenfield said.

Part of that interest no doubt has to do with his size, Thomas standing all of 6 foot, 6 inches and weighing 295 pounds. He's got the grades, so that only helps stock. But for me, his attitude is what makes him the complete package.

"I want to clobber the guy across from me," Thomas said of his attitude when he gets in the down-position. "You just want to beat him and once you pancake him, I might tell him about it afterward."

Don't let anyone tell you the trash talking is exclusive to the skill position guys. Sure, they get all the camera time, so they think these guys are talking the most. But Edenfield said that it's pretty vocal down in the trenches too. "You bet there's trash talking. I talk a little myself," he said. "Guys try and stare you down or whatever, but you still have to play. I don't talk too much, but like I said, if someone gets in my way and I let him have it, I might remind him about it."

The kid is good, no doubt, but back to the attention, he's still surprised at how it's picked up like it has. The increasing mail, the 10+ plus text messages a day, it's all got this feeling of something happening, but that's something Thomas doesn't think about it. He takes it a little at a time. "The attention is nice, I know that, but I don't get all wrapped up in it," he said. "It's fun, so I am just enjoying it and looking forward to looking at these schools a lot more."

To his first offer, that one from the Gators, you can guess that Edenfield already knows a bit about them. And it's something he'll no doubt hear from everyone outside of the state, the same thing he's heard from everyone within it. "Yeah, they all say I am going to Florida or a Florida school," he said. "I hear it all the time. They think that I am going to stay in-state and that's about it."

While Thomas isn't going to discount the possibility of heading to a great program like Florida, he'd like it known that the popular opinion isn't correct. "I could end up going anywhere," he said. "I am not looking at a school, because of where it's at. I am looking at academics first, then I will look at the program itself."

One of the things he's looking for in that program, is the tradition, atmosphere and following that program has. That could be one slight disadvantage for the Florida schools, because due to no fault of their own, the distractions in the sunshine state are many.

Pick a team, Florida probably has a professional team that plays it. And in many cases, probably more than one. Add that to the fact that three of the elite football programs in Division 1-A reside there, that's a lot for the population base to follow. Hey, that's life in Florida and for most kids inside the state, that's what makes it great.

Edenfield wouldn't mind, however, if he were at a program where it was a little different. "A state, where it's all about that one program, that would be nice to be a part of," he said. "Fans that are just crazy about their football team. That would be really nice."

There's no doubt Nebraska falls into that category. No professional teams outside of a AAA Omaha Royals baseball team and an assorted amount of hockey teams and football teams playing in some of the more obscure organizations. It's Nebraska, Nebraska, Nebraska, and if you ask someone inside the state which sport or team they follow, the answer is almost always the same.

That's what Edenfield has learned about Nebraska, but through his discourse with his recruiter, running backs coach Randy Jordan, that's about it. "We don't talk a lot about the program and all that. It's more about personal stuff and the academics," he said. "I like him, because he's not one of those guys that talks a lot of b.s. He just tells it like it is and he's a great guy to talk with."

All that is great for Nebraska, but just like you can't pigeonhole this young man into staying in-state, just because he likes a coach, it doesn't mean, that's where he'll eventually be.

That's where the investigation process begins, some of it accomplished by unofficial visits, which he's taken to Georgia, Florida, Central Florida and Florida State thus far. And over the course of the summer, he'll take in a camp at Florida, followed by one at Southern California.

With the offer from Nebraska, do they now make the list of those places he could see over the off-season? "Yeah, I'd like to check them out, but that's up to my parents," Thomas said. "They control where we go, getting the tickets and all that, so I will sit down and talk with them about that."

With school now over and this so-called off-season just getting started, Thomas is already thinking ahead. Not just of the places he's slated to go, but the places that could arise. There's no one single offer he's waiting or hoping for, though. Whoever it is, wherever it is, whatever they have done in the past – it's all the same to him, because it's still very early in the process.

Heck, it's been just two weeks since his first offer and chances are, he's going to get a whole lot more. That's when the fun really begins. "I'm just excited about checking these schools out, learning more about them and seeing which place fits me the best," he said.

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