2008 Intro: Ed Gainey

WINSTON SALEM, N.C. --- After leading the state in interceptions last fall, Ed Gainey was awarded a spot on the Associated Press's All-State Football Team as only a junior.

"He's a ball hawk," said Barry Stewart, Winston Salem (N.C.) Mount Tabor's head football coach. "You put the ball in the air and he'll get it. He's good at following the quarterback's eyes and getting a good read from the scheme of the offense.

"He's good at knowing where some of the tendencies are. He studies tape and I think that really adds to his game."

Gainey, a 6-foot 185-pound defensive back, ended his junior season with 13 picks from his free safety position.

Stewart credits last year's addition of Chad Tesh to his coaching staff for Gainey's breakout season.

"[Tesh] really slowed down the game defensively for Ed," said Gainey. "Ed was really able to understand the game last year a lot more."

Considering his stellar junior season, it's not surprising that college interest for Gainey has flooded Stewart's office. Clemson, Florida, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest are all sending plenty of mail, while in-state schools North Carolina and N.C. State are on the verge of extending scholarship offers.

"[The N.C. State coaching staff] likes what they see," said Stewart. "He went down to one of the State basketball games and Coach [Mike] Reid spoke to me later in the day. With [Tom] O'Brien and the staff being new, they're interested in him, but they want him to come to one of their camps. Before they make any type of offer, they want to see what he can do in-person."

Gainey is in the same situation with the Tar Heels.

"Carolina coach [Steve] Hagen has called and I've spoken to him," said Stewart. "Ed went down to the Carolina-Duke game and he had a good visit with those folks.

"They're real high on him, but again I think we're in the same situation there. New coaching staff has come in and they want to see him in camp."

In addition to accepting Hagen's invitation to attend camp, Gainey is looking to also camp at Virginia Tech.

During the summer camping circuit, Stewart expects Gainey to display the skills necessary to become a collegiate cornerback with game-changing ability.

"He's got real good hands; he's got good speed," said Stewart. "The instances we've used him on offense this past season, he was able to make a play on the ball, get away from the defender, and make a score."

Over the weekend, Gainey made his first unofficial visit of the spring when he attended N.C. State's Junior Day.

"It went good," said Gainey. "I like that school a lot; I like my position coach [Mike Reed] a lot; and I thought it was a good atmosphere."

After spending most of the day in Raleigh, Gainey traveled to Chapel Hill, catching the tail end of the UNC-Duke basketball game.

"I talked to them during the game and after the game," said Gainey. "My friend that goes there and plays football [Ryan Taylor], he took me to the coaches' office. I talked to Coach Hagen, my primary recruiter, he wants me to come back down so we can talk more."

In addition to attending the Tar Heels' summer camp, Gainey is looking to drop by one of UNC's spring practices or possibly the spring game.

With so much up in the air, Gainey is reluctant to name any favorites, but he knows what he's looking for in a school.

"[I'm looking for] a good football team, good academics – just a good school," said Gainey.

Gainey said he doesn't expect to make a verbal commitment until his senior year.

Ed Gainey Profile


Inside Carolina Top Stories