Alabama RB High on UT

It speaks volumes for Terrell Edwards' potential as a football prospect that he hasn't been a full-time starter in high school for a single season, but he already has a pair of Division I scholarship offers.

Of course, there are extenuating circumstances that help explain how Edwards could turn such a trick. He began his high school career at Mobile Shaw High School and played running back on the JV team in addition to limit service for the varsity. In 2004, he transferred to UMS-Wright Preparatory School and sat out his sophomore season. As a junior he earned significant playing time as a reserve running back for UMS Wright which went 15-0 and won the Class-4A state title in Alabama.

"My 11th grade year was actually my first year to play for UMS," he said. "At the beginning of the year I just played defense (safety) then I moved to offense more. From the second game on I played mostly offense and special teams."

Terrell Edwards performed like a seasoned veteran and proved too valuable as a backup running back to risk on defense. In part-time duty, he rushed for 751 yards, averaged 11.3 yards per carry and scored 15 TDs, including two on kickoff returns and one on a punt return. He had a big-time performance in the second game of the season.

"Our second game was my breakout game," he explained. "I touched the ball three times and I scored every time I touched it. First was on a kickoff return I ran back 78 yards for a touchdown. Then later on in the game I broke a 68-yard run out of the backfield and I returned a punt about 65 yards, too. They had a little saying around here that he scored three touchdowns and didn't get touched."

Edwards opened more eyes at the All-American Combine in Tuscaloosa last April, and soon had offers from Kentucky and Marshall. More are likely to follow as the 6-foot-21/2, 215-pound athlete takes on a primary role as a senior for UMS-Wright, which moves up to Class 5A this fall and opens the 2006 season against powerful 6A state champion Hoover High School.

He has spent most of the summer working to improve his size and strength and is making steady progress. He has only been lifting weights for two years, but has a 285-pound bench press, a 325-pound hang clean and a 410-pound squat. He runs a 4.61 time in the 40 and is hoping to improve on that this summer.

"I haven't been to any camps yet," he said last Friday. "I'm planning on going to one the next two weekends. I'm going up to UAB and I might try to run down to LSU."

LSU is one of his favorites to this point, but Tennessee is a school that is near to his heart, despite the fact he's never actually been on campus. It's a Big Orange affection that was passed down by his father.

"Tennessee, I love that fan support they have," he said. "I love that little song they sing that's called Rocky Top. My dad is a huge Tennessee fan. He grew up in Mobile but went to college at Tennessee Tech and it kind of went from there. He became a Tennessee fan and he wears all the sweat shirts and hats and stuff. He kind of passed that on to me, too. I've always been a big Tennessee fan, too. I grew up wanting to learn that song and could never get the words right to it."

It might surprise Terrell to know that most Tennessee fans don't know all the words to Rocky Top, although you'd be hard pressed to find one who didn't know the chorus. However Vol Fans are knowledgeable about the game and can recognize a diamond in the rough like Edwards, who is fully qualified and versatile enough to be a standout in basketball and track, or play either side of the football in college.

"Most people are recruiting me as a running back," he said. "I can catch the ball out the backfield. I can play defense and special teams, too."

Edwards wants to major in physical therapy in college and said education will play an important role in his decision.

"First off would have to be academics," he said when asked what he was looking for in a college. "They would have to have what I'm majoring in. The environment they have around campus, the people they have, the athletic program. I just want an environment where it pretty much feels like I haven't left home. Just somewhere I can go and feel comfortable."

Once Terrell Edwards makes his first visit to The Hill he may feel like singing: "Rocky Top you'll always be home sweet home to me."

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