Tennessee picked up its first football commitment in more than a month when Mike Edwards gave his pledge to be a Vol on Sunday.
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound cornerback from Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio, made the commitment after returning home from an official visit to Knoxville. Edwards chose the Vols over Cincinnati and Minnesota.
Edwards told the News Sentinel on Sunday afternoon that he wasn’t ready to rank his schools, although he admitted UT “grabbed the most attention.”
After talking with his family, Edwards decided to call UT coach Lane Kiffin and commit.
“I went ahead and pulled the trigger for the simple fact that I felt like it’s the school for me all the way around academically, coaching wise and with the players,” Edwards said. “The players and the support system are just great.”
Edwards also saw the opportunity to play in a great conference, the SEC.
“It’s amazing because I looked at the SEC my whole life,” Edwards said. “I would always look at those teams and say, ‘Wow, what if I ever get to play against them or play on the same field as them.’
“Now I’ve got my shot so I’m going to take full advantage of it.”
Edwards now plans to help UT take advantage of the strong recruiting base at Glenville.
Edwards said he will try to sway his teammate, offensive lineman Marcus Hall, to UT.
Hall, who’s also considering Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois and Miami, plans to visit UT next weekend.
“I’m going to try to get him to be a Volunteer,” Edwards said.
Many believe Ohio State to be the team to beat for Hall’s services. Edwards doesn’t see it that way.
“A lot of people think that but I think Marcus is going to shock a lot of people,” Edwards said.
It was no shock that Edwards chose UT after his visit to Knoxville.
He told the News Sentinel earlier this month that he would likely commit to the Vols if he enjoyed his trip.
UT fans tried their best to make sure Edwards enjoyed his trip when he attended the Vols’ basketball game against Memphis at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday.
Edwards said he was surprised when UT fans called out his name.
“I was like, ‘Wow, I’m from Cleveland. How do they know me down here?’ ” Edwards said. “People there keep up with football.
“When we walked in all eyes were on us when the game was going on. That shows you the love they have for the football team.”
Edwards said he saw Monte Kiffin’s love for football while talking to UT’s new defensive coordinator this weekend.
It was the first meeting between Edwards and Kiffin.
“He’s a great person and a historic person,” Edwards said. “He’s a person I would respect whether I was coming to school there or not. The schemes he has, they look like they’re going to work.”
Edwards also knows about the work Lane Kiffin is putting in to help UT have success.
Kiffin’s determination has stood out to Edwards since they met last month.
“With a winning mindset you can’t beat that,” Edwards said. “You have a man like that and a person like me. I’ll do whatever I’ve got to do to be successful.”
That includes on the field and in the classroom.
Edwards said UT emphasized the importance of athletes taking care of their academics.
“It made me feel really good,” Edwards said. “Once I go to school I’ve got to take advantage of everything they offer and get my degree. Playing sports is my first option but I’ve got to get my degree, too.”