One would be hard pressed to find a defensive player in
the country getting more offseason attention than Daingerfield linebacker Steve
Edmond. The ball hawk from East Texas has received high acclaim from national
recruiting analysts and has gotten his share of love in the state but none of
that matters much to Edmond – he just wants to get back to the game he loves.
Check any recruiting list ranking the top college
football prospects in the country and Edmond’s name is sure to be close to the
top (like his No. 51 ranking in the ESPNU 150). The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder who
plays the game with an aggressive, downhill approach has also made headlines in
the state of Texas with his recent selection as the Super Team Defensive Player
of the Year in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine.
A quiet, shy person by nature, Edmond (the No. 4-ranked
prospect in the Inside Texas 2011 Top 100) is brushing the attention off to the
side and said his main focus is still all about what got him the high praise in
the first place – hard work off of the field and high production between the
“I’m not focused on any of that stuff because I can’t let
that stuff mess with what I do on the field,” Edmond said. “I’ve seen the books
and things like that and it’s nice, but I’ve seen that stuff mess with people’s
heads. All I want to do is just keep going out on the field and giving it all I’ve
got and letting everything else just happen.”
Another thing Edmond’s on the field performance earned
him was a scholarship offer from Texas as he emerged as one of the top
defensive targets for the Longhorns in the class of 2011. Edmond pulled the
trigger and committed to the Longhorns in February and even though he’s made
visits to campus (some with his high school teammate and Longhorn freshman receiver
Chris Jones) he experienced a different side of Texas earlier this month.
Edmond worked out at the Longhorns’ June 6 minicamp with
a vast majority of the 2011 commitments, including fellow linebacker commits
Chet Moss and Kendall Thompson. While Edmond said he didn’t see anything new in
terms of the sights around the 40 Acres, he said getting to know some future
teammates was a great experience.
“We worked really well together and we all got along real
well,” Edmond said. “Now we talk a lot on Facebook and we keep in touch with
each other. I guess the camp was really like an early family reunion for us.”
“What I see when I go to Texas are the same things I saw
the first time and that’s why I like it there,” Edmond added. “There’s a good
family atmosphere there and I like way the coaches and the people there treat
you. Everybody really gets along there.”
In addition to the camp Edmond has also been doing plenty
of work on his own in East Texas. He and his Daingerfield teammates competed in
a summer 7-on-7 league and the Tigers went undefeated the whole season until
losing to host Pittsburg in the championship game recently.
There are varying opinions of how 7-on-7 helps teams when
the fall rolls around, but Edmond said there is no doubt that the extra work
has helped the Tigers.
“I think it’s going to have a big difference on how we
play this year,” Edmond said. “We looked at our safeties as being a question
mark, but our safeties did really good this summer and we’ve found some guys
who can play back there.”
There’s no question that Edmond is the lynch pin in the
Daingerfield defense as he recorded 184 tackles and spearheaded one of the
state’s best defensive units as the Tigers won their second straight Class 2A
state championship last year. Edmond said the 7-on-7 work also helped him in
more ways than just his coverage skills.
“I’ve gotten faster this summer – I’m breaking on plays
faster that I have in the past,” Edmond said. “As a linebacker I’m kind of a
coach on the field and I direct the other linebackers on what to do. In 7-on-7
it lets you see different looks so it helps me just look at different things.”
With his summer over from a competition standpoint,
Edmond is now turning his attention to his senior year and helping Daingerfield
prepare for a run at a third straight state championship. Before two-a-days
begin in early August, Edmond said he and the other seniors are taking it upon
themselves to organize weeknight workouts at the stadium.
The leadership role is something new to Edmond and while
he hasn’t quite grasped that part of it yet, he said all he wants to do is
whatever will help the Tigers win games and get the young players ready for the
“Right now our main goal with the workouts is to help the
young guys get their mind right so when two-a-days start they’re used to the
way we do things,” Edmond said. “I’m not really used to being a leader, but I’m
getting used to it. The younger guys look up to me, and I don’t know why, but I
tell them that I’m no different than they are and we all have to work.”
Having grown up in the school district along with many of
teammates, Edmond said there’s nothing he and his teammates want more than to
win another state championship. The Tigers are 30-2 over the past two years
under head coach Barry Bowman and Edmond said the goal is not just to win a
state title but to finish the season unbeaten.
Despite a bright future waiting for him in Austin, Edmond
said he wants to soak in every second of his final season in a Daingerfield
“Me and some of my teammates, ever since we were little
all we’ve thought about was being a Daingerfield Tiger,” Edmond said. “I don’t
want it to end. I’m not in a rush to get it over with and I’m going to take
things slow because I’ve waited my whole life for this moment to come.”
With team success the individual success has followed
Edmond and he feels the same will happen this year if the Tigers get another
title. He’s set his goals high, but with the way he’s played the last two years
they are certainly achievable.
“Being the (state) defensive player of the year is a goal
I’ve had for a long time,” Edmond said. “I want to get 200 tackles this year. I
came close last year but we had so many guys who were right around 100 tackles
and I think this year I’ll be able to do it.”
Edmond said he’s petitioned the Daingerfield coaches to
get him on the field more and his newest assignment will not only fill up his
stat sheet but should also add to his highlight reel.
“I’m going to play on the kickoff team this year,” Edmond
said. “I’m going to just sprint down there so I get to the ball first and hit
There’s no doubt Edmond is going to make a ton of plays
as a senior and get recognized for his efforts, but don’t expect him to make a
big deal out of things.