CINCINNATI — It was another disappointing summer day for Mike Edwards, who stood behind George Brown on Friday and watched his cousin, friend and former high school football teammate choose the Florida Gators instead of Kentucky.
Edwards signed with the Wildcats last February, but he announced this summer that he would not enroll at UK in the fall because of a shoulder injury.
UK Coach Mark Stoops said recently that he's hoping Edwards — a highly touted safety — will be able to join the team in January. That's still the plan, Edwards told the Herald-Leader on Friday.
First, Edwards will have surgery next month to repair a separated shoulder that he said he suffered early in his senior season.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
"I played with it last year," he said. "It bothered me somewhat, but I played through it. I just need to get it taken care of because this is the next level. Bigger guys and stuff. It could happen again, and I'm not trying to risk that at all."
Sitting out the fall semester while his shoulder heals will delay the clock on Edwards' playing eligibility, which means he could stay at UK longer if need be. He said there are no concerns about his eligibility — academic or otherwise — and he will enroll at UK in January.
"They told me I should be ready for spring practice and the spring game," Edwards said.
In the meantime, he's keeping tabs on his 2014 classmates and staying in touch with the UK coaching staff. Edwards says he regularly hears from UK freshmen Drew Barker, Darius West and Mikel Horton, as well as Stoops and assistant coaches Derrick Ansley and Vince Marrow.
"It's a great feeling seeing them happy and getting to achieve their goals," Edwards said of the UK freshmen. "But at the same time, it's a bad thing on me because I'm not down there with my teammates. I told them I'd be there soon, and they said they'd be waiting on me."
Rivals.com analyst Josh Helmholdt told the Herald-Leader on national signing day that Edwards had the potential to be one of the biggest instant-impact players in UK's class of 2014.
Edwards' college career will now start one year later, but he hasn't lost his confidence.
"I basically have the same mindset: Come in try and take the job and start right away," Edwards said. "It's nothing different coming in from June to January. I'm going to be ready no matter what."