UT Taps Tarblooder Talent

Whether UT's success in gaining a commitment from renown Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio, leads to subsequent signings from that talent-rich, inner-city program is uncertain, still it's clear Tennessee scored a major coup and gained recruiting momentum when No. 21 ranked cornerback Mike Edwards declared himself a Volunteer.

Led by Ted Ginn Sr., who became head coach in 1997, after working his way from Glenville football player to Glenville graduate to school security guard to volunteer coach, to assistant coach and finally head coach. It has been a 37-year climb for Ginn and a vast transformation for the once downtrodden program. The Tarblooders have produced some 55 Division I football players in 12 seasons.

Many of those have gone on to star at Ohio State including wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., who was named U.S.A. Today Player of the year in 2005 and was drafted No. 9 in the first round by Miami. Ginn Jr.'s quarterback at Glenville was Troy Smith who went on to win the Heisman Trophy and was drafted by Baltimore.

At one point Glenville had no less than eight scholarship football players on the Buckeye's roster. Other notable Glenville to Columbus products are Donte Whitner (safety for the Buffalo Bills), and Antwaun Molden (cornerback for the Houston Texans).

When you think Glenville you think athletes with speed and strength. Interestingly, Ginn, Sr., established the weight program there as his first official act upon taking the helm, and he has coached the Tarblooders to five straight state track titles. The most important contribution from Ginn to Glenville was instilling a work ethic, pride in the program, dedication to duty and motivation, He has compiled 102-26 record, making the state playoffs every season. The Tarblooders have captured 10 straight Senate League titles and own a 72-game conference winning streak. In 2007, Glenville outscored league opponents by a score of 347 to 6 with six shutouts in seven of those games.

Edwards is typical of the type of fast, athletic, physical prospect Glenville consistently turns out. He runs a 4.55 time in the 40 and has outstanding quickness. He demonstrated superb body control playing receiver against Thomas Jefferson at Wheeling Island Stadium, in Wheeling, WV. The 6-foot-1, 181-pound Edwards paced the Tarblooders to a 34-13 victory with three receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns.

Playing defensive end and some DB, Edwards accounted for 34 tackles and five interceptions as a senior, and he averaged 20 yards on punt returns and almost 33 yards on kick returns for the Tarblooders who went 11-1 while pitching seven shutouts.

However Edwards decision to commit to Tennessee is decidedly atypical. He's not only the first Glenville prospect to ever commit to the Vols he's the first to ever commit to an SEC school.

"There were a lot of reasons I picked Tennessee, Edwards said in a Cleveland Plain Dealer article. "They have a new head coach [Lane Kiffin] and from what the coaches told me, the incoming freshmen will have as much of a chance to play as will the players already there."

Edwards, who plans on majoring in communications, was impressed with Tennessee's academic support system, citing that as one of the reasons he chose UT over Michigan, Ohio State, Cincinnati and Minnesota.

"I've always needed a little push as far as academics are concerned," admitted Edwards. "I need to stay focused and I'll be able to do that there. I talked to God a lot about this, and he and I feel Tennessee is the best place for me."

Edwards has stated his intention to recruit teammate Marcus Hall to Tennessee. Ranked the nation's No. 5 offensive tackle and a Parade All-American, Hall is scheduled to visit the UT campus this weekend and has yet to name a favorite, although most feel Ohio State is the team to beat. He visited Miami last week and has yet to confirmed he'll be in Knoxville.

Hall, 6-5, 305, graded out at 95 percent blocking as a senior and amassed 78 pancake blocks. He bench presses 350 and squats 415. He runs a 5.3 forty time and boasts a 25-inch vertical.

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