This week we learned that Mike Edwards would not be joining the Kentucky football team this Fall. Edwards, a four-star defensive back from Cincinnati, was expected to come in and compete for playing time at an area of weakness for UK. It’s a disappointing turn of event for the team as well as the player but Edwards has made it clear that he plans to enroll for the Spring semester at Kentucky, essentially taking a “grey shirt”.
I just want to say I am getting surgery on my shoulder this upcoming month and won’t be able to play or enroll this semester.
— Badger (@M__Edwards7) July 9, 2014
I am still a wildcat though #BBN
— Badger (@M__Edwards7) July 9, 2014
So what happens now? It’s unclear at this point if the coaches were planning to use Edwards as a safety or cornerback. He was versatile enough to be ranked as both by recruiting services. He also offers some help in the return game. So it’s definitely a blow, but the days when a four star recruit not making it to campus year one was a catastrophe are over. If Edwards was expected to play cornerback, Kentucky has four star Kendall Randolph and three star Jared Tucker on campus this Summer. If the coaches liked him at safety, then Kentucky has a bounty of talent at that spot. Four star frosh Darius West may be the best of the bunch and JUCO AJ Stamps impressed in the Spring. Not to mention returning talent at each spot. People forget that JD Harmon led the team in interceptions as a freshman before being declared academically ineligible. If not for a very late start to camp, four star safety Marcus McWilson may have seen the bulk of the snaps at nickel over surprise standout Blake McClain. Sophomore Jaleel Hytchye was supposed to redshirt and put some weight on his thin frame but was forced into action at the end of the year.
So there is some good, young talent already in Lexington. It’s great that Kentucky has built enough depth to absorb a loss like this. But a question that many fans are asking is why Edwards is postponing enrollment. Wouldn’t it make sense to enroll and let UK’s team doctors do the surgery and have Erik Korem monitoring his recovery? Yes that’s one solution that would make sense. On the other hand, by delaying enrollment to the Spring semester, Edwards is saving himself a redshirt season that he would have definitely taken this year with his injury. So if his rehab is slow or he suffers another injury in the future, Mike will be able to redshirt a year and not lose any of his Kentucky career. Basically he will still have five years to play four starting in 2015.
So that may have been a part of the decision process. With him not being on campus with the other freshmen already there have been some rumors floating around about academic issues. I couldn’t confirm or dispell any of those rumors but usually if a recruit is borderline to qualify, everyone knows a couple of months ahead of time. There wasn’t any of that with Edwards. He did transfer high schools for his senior year, so there may be a hangup involving that, but with the injury it’s a moot point.
All in all, Kentucky fans need not worry. Sources indicate that Edwards is expected to be a part of the team in January and take part in Spring practice. Losing him this season is a negative but it sounds like this injury has lingered since last season, so surgery was inevitable. Assuming any potential academics hurdles would be cleared up in six months, it will be like Mike just took a grey shirt. So here is to a swift recovery for Mike Edwards and good lukc with any other hurdles he faces that we don’t know about from the WBN and Big Blue Nation.