Marlboro County (Bennettsville, S.C.) finished the 2007 season with a 9-3 record, a region championship and an appearance in the second round of the Class 3A state playoffs. Head coach Dean Boyd returns a good group of talent next season, headlined by at least three rising seniors who could end up playing Division 1A football.
"We have three guys who are getting recruited the most, but we have as many as five or six who could be recruited pretty good," Boyd said. "The three who are being recruited the most are Tariq and Tyrell Edwards and Kinsman Thomas. Tariq and Tyrell are twin brothers and their father, Bo Campbell, played at Virginia Tech [from 1988 to 1992]. Tariq is 6-4, 225 pounds and Tyrell is 6-4, 219 pounds. Kinsman is 6-3, 210 pounds."
Tariq Edwards and Kinsman Thomas boast the same four offers - Clemson, N.C. State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. Tariq Edwards is being recruited by most college coaches as an outside linebacker or defensive end, while Thomas is more of an athlete-type prospect.
Of Tariq Edwards, Boyd said, "He plays well on both sides of the ball. He is getting more notoriety for his defensive skills, but offensively he has great hands. He is very good as a wide receiver or tight end. He is also smart. He understands football and how to play the game. Where he plays in college will be up to whoever gets him, but there are things that stand out about him defensively. He makes plays. He had about four or five sacks last season, and he added about four blocked punts on special teams."
Of Thomas, Boyd said, "Most coaches like Kinsman at wide receiver, but they also want to take a look at him because of his frame. Coaches will probably want to take a look at him on defense because of his physicality. He is not the type to juke you. He'd rather run over you. Last year, he had 29 catches for 597 yards and eight touchdowns. He had 47 tackles on defense from the outside linebacker and safety spots. He is a big, physical, strong player. And last year was his first year playing varsity ball, basically. He played as a 10th grader, but we got him out there a little late."
Tariq Edwards and Kinsman Thomas are drawing serious interest from a number of other Division 1A programs. In fact, Thomas has been receiving interest from Southern Cal and Michigan, among others. Tyrell Edwards boasts good size and solid athleticism as well, but he does not have a lot of film to show from his junior season. He is getting some Division 1A looks, though.
"Going into last season, we felt like Tyrell would be our starting quarterback," Boyd said. "He got hurt the third day of practice and didn't come back until after the second game. He had a high ankle sprain. By the time he came back, we had a sophomore that had come in. He was playing so well that we stuck with him. Tyrell wanted to play quarterback, so he stayed there. We used him some, but we had such a good rhythm with Elliot that we just didn't want to make the change. It took Tyrell a while to decide that he just wanted to get on the field. He played wide receiver, but there is just not a lot of film on him. I think he'll probably be a wide receiver or tight end, but the thing about him is that he does have the tools to play quarterback - he has a cannon for an arm and he can run pretty well."
Two more rising seniors - 5-9, 185-pound running back Tyreek Townsend and 5-10, 170-pound athlete Jerrel McLaughlin - could be Division 1A prospects when all is said and done.
"Tyreek Townsend split time with a senior running back last year. He still gained 880 yards and scored 12 touchdowns splitting time," Boyd said. "He catches the ball well. He had about 12 catches out of the backfield last year. He has great side-to-side movement. He could be a 1,000-yard to 1,500-yard rusher as a full-time back next year.
"Jerrel McLaughlin hasn't gotten offers, but he is hearing from Ivy League schools because his GPA is 3.91 or 3.92. He is a smart kid who is really fast. He has been our starting free safety for three years now. He is not a big-sized person, but he is a good player."
Headlining the rising junior class is 6-1 1/2, 180-pound quarterback Elliot Alford, 6-3, 310-pound lineman Thomas Teal and 6-2, 225-pound defensive end Lee Pegues.
"Elliot came out of nowhere last year to throw for 2,100 yards and 21 touchdowns," Boyd said. "He makes great decisions out there. Thomas is one of the best offensive and defensive linemen we've had since I've been here. He can run and he is a big, strong kid. He is benching 330 pounds right now. Lee had eight sacks and 70 tackles this season at defensive end."
More on the Edwards brothers...
Former Virginia Tech standout return man/wide receiver Bo Campbell discussed Virginia Tech's recruitment of his sons.
"Tariq will more than likely get offered," Campbell said. "Coach Wiles is telling me that they have 12-14 scholarship offers and they want to evaluate people at camp before passing most of the scholarships out. Both are going up on April 19th for the Spring Game and June 7th for camp. Those guys want to take a look at them again. Tyrell will be able to showcase his stuff at the camp."
Tariq is certainly interested in Virginia Tech, but he is checking out other schools as well.
"I'm high on Tech because I've been there many times," Tariq Edwards said. "We've been there a lot since we were kids and we like being there.
"I'm in a wait-and-see mode right now in the process. I want to check out each school. I've already been to Clemson and South Carolina. N.C. State has offered, too, so I think I will want to make a visit there."
Asked if he and his brother would like to go to the same school, Tariq answered, "We would like to, but we can deal if we can't. We'll just have to see what happens."
Tyrell is anxious to hit a number of camps this spring and summer in hopes of landing his first offer. Some schools want to see him play other positions, while others, such as Boston College, are interested in him as a quarterback.
"I'm getting ready for those camps and types of things," Tyrell said. "I feel like I can go out there and play quarterback, but I also want to show I'm versatile. Two or three schools want to offer, but they need more film and they want to see me at camp."
Tyrell plans to attend camp at Clemson, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech. He is also high on Virginia Tech, but he is interested in Clemson and South Carolina as well.