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Edmond Staying Focused, Humble

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

white lines.

“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

season.

“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

uniform.

“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

somebody.”

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.