TAMPA, Fla. – Larry Edwards' commitment to North Carolina went through the wringer on Wednesday by the way of several vague newspaper reports that set off a flurry of message board turbulence.
But something was missing from these "articles of misconception." Apparently, no one had actually heard Edwards say he was de-committing from Carolina to take Florida up on its reported offer.
To make the situation even murkier at a time when information was needed most, Wharton head coach Richard Wood resigned and became the Wildcats' ex-coach on the same day. Wood, a friend of John Bunting since their NFL playing days, is said to be interested in coaching opportunities at the professional level and is off to Europe for the World League.
At the end of the day, rumors could not be substantiated and Edwards remained affixed to UNC's commitment list with his mother reaffirming his commitment to IC's Mac Heffner; albeit in this day and age, nothing can be considered certain until Edwards signs a national letter of intent next Wednesday.
Wood said he's going to Carolina, and Edwards' mom says he's going to Carolina. So, "between Coach Wood and my mom; they have had the most influence on my life," Edwards said.
Do the math.
Bunting and his staff have recruited with the national powers this year, and pre-signing day unrest is going to be a by-product of the upward movement.
"I found out that there is a lot of hearsay throughout the whole recruiting process, and you've just got to take it one day at a time and make the decision for yourself," Edwards said. "You've just got to do research and also you've got to be focused on what you want."
That doesn't sound like someone who is going to flip-flop his commitments between schools on a whim.
"Larry is very intelligent, he's very coachable and someone that wants to excel at all times," Wood said.
Prior to Edwards' now infamous visit to Gainesville this weekend, he said he would be surprised if the Gators would be able to change his mind. Edwards has clearly put much more thought into his decision and has a great deal of respect for the Tar Heel football program.
"Just overall, the opportunities I would get at Carolina," Edwards said, "to come in and play and to be in an atmosphere where I could become a successful person also… To go ahead and get an education, and at the same time, play big-time Division I football… They have given me a great opportunity."
Edwards said his heroes are Tampa Bay's Derrick Brooks…
"Derrick Brooks is someone I try to emulate on the field," Edwards said. "He brings so many aspects to the game. When he plays, he is always around the ball and always at the right place at the right time. I've talked with a lot of people who know him, and they say his work habits are the best.
…and UNC All-American and NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor.
"Larry told me he wanted to be like ‘LT,'" Wood said. "I told him he should be ‘LE' – ‘Larry Edwards – The Luxury Edition.'"
Here are last words Wood had to say on Edwards' behalf before his resignation:
"Whew, where can Larry improve? It's hard to say where he can improve, because he does everything so well. He works so hard. You can't improve on attitude. You can't improve on his commitment. His perseverance is…hmm…hmm…he just needs to improve on not being so humble.
"He's a humble young man. He's quiet, very respectful, the kind of kid you want to be your son. He's loved by everyone. He has a good character. He gets along with everyone.
"Larry, like myself, could improve on promoting himself a little more."