An Off-Night Interview With Raymond Edwards

He's one of the most polite young men we have ever interviewed. He's courteous and well-spoken. He knows what he wants and he knows what he is looking for in a school. He is also one of the hottest prospects in the country right now. An off-night interview with Mr. Raymond Edwards ...

It was an off night in the home of this highly touted defensive end prospect out of Ohio. No coaches visiting. No planning for the next out-of-town visit. The phone rang three times but we were there first.

And the first thing that strikes you when interviewing Raymond Edwards is that he sounds nothing like he looks in his striking picture. He is not your typical hulky, dull spoken, egotistical athlete. He is about as soft spoken and amiable as any blue chipper we have ever spoken with. Extremely polite and respectful ... but without a doubt focused on the process of deciding which school he will attend. In short, this tall man is an impressive interview.

Edwards is so tall that we had a hard time including the top of his head in the picture featured with this article. He's a legit 6-5.5 and weighs in at a svelte 235 pounds. He tells us he runs a consistent 4.58 forty and benched 320 "max" the last time he tried. "But that's been awhile, I could do more now," he added.

Raymond has narrowed it down to three schools. South Carolina, Purdue and Tennessee. So we decided to get into the specifics of each.

First of all Edwards has been courted by some of the finest coaches in the USA today.

Jim Tressell, OSU - "He's a great guy, a great person and a great coach. I like him."

Phil Fulmer, UT - "He's okay. He's a nice guy but maybe a little too serious. I really haven't connected with him too well."

Joe Tiller - Purdue - "Real nice guy. Laid back. Easy going."

Lou Holtz - South Carolina (Edwards laughs) - "I liked him a lot. He's funny, a great guy. I've never seen an old man like him with so much energy."

"Out of the five schools I have visited so far I liked South Carolina and Tennessee the best probably - As far as the (actual) visits went. I had a real good time at both of their schools and I was comfortable at those places," Edwards shared.

"I've been to OSU, UT, South Carolina, Boston College and Purdue and I am done taking visits."

When it comes to facilities Edwards was most impressed with Ohio State's. "They have a real nice place up there. But all the schools I visited have real nice facilities."

The bottom line is that facilities are not what's important to Edwards. Education is ... and he made that clear.

"Yes Sir," Edwards began. "My education comes first and then football. Those are my two priorities in order. Education wise South Carolina and Purdue are my favorites. Those are the two where I can get the best education."

But other factors may play a role in his decision.

"My girlfriend and I have been discussing where I might go and what she will do. The only one we've really been talking about so far is Spellman College in Atlanta for her. That's close enough to South Carolina."

"Overall I would have to say that Tennessee's and South Carolina's stadiums and other things have impressed me." Then he added when asked, "I will not have any problems adusting to and playing in the heat of the south if I end up playing in the SEC."

Raymond was adamant that he is now decommitted from Purdue and is wide open. Coach Phil Fulmer will visit him at his high school Thursday. Coach Caldwell is his recruiter at Tennessee but it used to be Coach Mike Berry, "... before he was fired or resigned or whatever."

Coach Todd Fitch is recruiting him from South Carolina. Coach Craig Olsen from Purdue.

Edwards is currently staring on his Div-II Woodward High basketball team in Cincinnati. He is averaging 19 pts, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks a game. But he has made it clear to the basketball scouts that they would be wasting his time and theirs by calling him. "I let them know early that I intend to play (college) football," Edwards said.

Edwards told us that he might play in the "Big 33" All-Star football game, a game held yearly that pits the best of Ohio against the best from Pennsylvania, "But then again I may not. I may just decide to go to my new school early and start getting ready to play college football."

"I'm going to choose the school that's right for me. I intend to major in Education so a school that has a good School of Education is important."

"I am fully qualified. I have a 3.8 GPA cumulative and have a 17 on my one try at the ACT. I probably will not take it again unless I have the extra time and want to try to raise my score but that really isn't necessary."

Edwards continued, "I live with my Grandmother and she says pick the best school that's best for me. She really likes Coach Tiller at Purdue. But she thinks all the coaches are funny because they all say the same thing."

Edwards finished by saying, "I will not commit to anyone until signing day. That's the day they are going to hold a press conference for me at my high school and everyone will know my decision then."

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