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January 25, 2009

Edwards talks UT visit, plans

Mike Edwards wasn't quite sure what to expect on his official visit this weekend to Tennessee.

But a standing ovation for football recruits and the Vols' new coaching staff at the UT-Memphis basketball showdown was completely unexpected.

"That was crazy. The basketball game was good by itself, but just to see recognition the football team gets at a basketball game like that shows how much respect the city of Knoxville has for the program," said the three-star defensive back from Glenville (Ohio) High School. "I wasn't expecting a standing ovation walking in that day. People were telling me they heard me on the radio when I was at the basketball game. That caught me way off-guard, me being all the way from Cleveland and people just knowing me already.

"It's only going to get better. I'm just up for the challenge that coach (Lane) Kiffin has for his players. If I decide to come to Tennessee, I definitely want to be a part of that."

A couple of weeks ago when VolQuest spoke to Edwards, the 5-foot-10-inch, 170-pounder had talked about wanting to meet Eric Berry. Edwards' hosts for the visit were Berry and Art Evans, and Edwards was impressed with the manner the All-American Berry handled himself.

"He's a person that I would love to be around," Edwards said of Berry. "He's quiet like me, but I can adapt to my environment. He was a real person. A real leader, a guy that wants the best for himself, his teammates and wants to win."

Like other recruits in recent weeks, Edwards - who says his finalists are Tennessee, Minnesota and Cincinnati -- raved about the recruiting experience this weekend inside Neyland Stadium.

"The stadium was, 'Wow!'," he said. "There was nobody in there but just the intensity of coaches and how they pumped us up. That stadium is ... I've never seen anything like that."

Hoping to earn early playing time wherever he signs, Edwards said the promise of such an opportunity was a common one in the recruiting process. But he believe that opportunity is more genuine at Tennessee.

"That's what I'm trying to do, if I did come," Edwards said of playing early. "That's what they say at all the schools, but it just seems like it's real at Tennessee. Everybody's starting on the same level with the new coaches. The upperclassmen don't have any upper hand on anybody. If you compete and are a better player, you're going to get the job."

And now, Edwards says, he'll spend the next 10 days deciding where he's going to compete.

"My trip was great. It was a good trip. As far as Tennessee goes, it was a good overall trip," said Edwards, who indicated both Oklahoma and Syracuse recently had shown interest. "Everything's out there. I just want to see and sit back and think about everything that's been said and thrown at me. I just want to relax and take it all in and be able to make my decision."

Rivals.com rates Edwards a three-star prospect and the No. 48 cornerback in the nation.


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