Hard-hitting DB Edwards brings 'swag' to Kentucky defense

broberts@herald-leader.comFebruary 5, 2014 

Mike Edwards, a defensive back at Cincinnati's Winton Woods High School, signed to play football for the University of Kentucky.

CARA OWSLEY — The Enquirer

By all accounts, Mike Edwards likes to have a good time on the football field.

"Oh yeah," the Kentucky signee agreed. "Trust me — I've got a lot of swag to my game."

The hard-hitting, ball-hawking safety is also a big talker before, during and after plays.

In some cases, that can be a bad thing. In Edwards' case, it keeps him in the game.

"He's having fun out there, there's no doubt about it," said Scout.com analyst Josh Helmholdt. "And not in a bad way. I don't see him standing over guys after he hits them. He's out there cheering with his teammates. He's loud, he's a vocal kid and he has fun playing the game.

"That's very evident watching him play."

Edwards can back up the talk with a game that has made him one of the top safeties in the Class of 2014.

He was the only player in the country at his position to get bumped up from three-star to four-star status by Rivals.com following his senior season.

"He plays at such a different speed than everybody else around him," Helmholdt said. "He's very rangy at that safety position. And when he hits you, you know it. He doesn't hold anything back.

"When he arrives at the football, he arrives angry. He knows how to finish a play."

UK's coaches have told Edwards that he'll be given an opportunity to start as a true freshman.

The 5-foot-10 prospect is listed as a free safety, but he's comfortable playing every position in the defensive backfield.

"They told me it's up to me to take the job," Edwards said. "I expect to come in and take the spot and start right away. Just come in and compete — that's what I'm going to do."

He has the talent and the confidence, but Edwards has missed some time because of injuries over the course of his career, including two games last season with shoulder and hamstring problems.

Helmholdt says "the talent is there" for Edwards to make an immediate impact next season, provided he can stay healthy.

"If he can do that, he's a phenomenal pickup for Kentucky."

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com.

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