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By LARRY VAUGHT
Cincinnati safety Mike Edwards always knew he likely was going to commit to Kentucky.
“I basically always knew I was going there, but I just decided for sure,” said Edwards.
He said UK head coach Mark Stoops, assistant coach Vince Marrow and others did not “pressure” him. “They just did their best to persuade me,” Edwards said. “They said they were holding off on some other safeties for me and Darius (West of Lima, Ohio). That meant a lot to me.”
West, a four-star prospect, also verbally committed to UK not long after Edwards did.
“When I knew I was going to Kentucky, he said basically he was going there, too. We talked about committing together. We always said we would go to the same school and once I did commit, he told me he would to but not to tell anybody,” Edwards said. “He is really just like a brother to me. We clicked really fast. A lot of people have compared me to him. Same position, same state. We have built a good relationship and wanted to play together. We are both fast, physical players. We can play corner or safety. We’re just about the same.”
The 6-0, 180-pound Edwards said the UK coaches have prepared him and other commits not to expect miracles from Kentucky this season.
“We know what is coming. Most everybody thinks Kentucky will not be real good this year, but our class is going to come and change a lot of things,” Edwards said. “I think we are going to win at least seven or eight games our first year. We should be good. This year, I’m not really worried about how they do. I am coming to Kentucky.
“I don’t really worry about anything. They are dong good things. The weight room is great. They are going to do things with the stadium. they have a lot of good things going on. To me, it’s just a big relief to have my decision made. Recruiting is hard. It puts pressure on you.”
It helped that so many of the UK commits have become friends like Edwards and West did.
“It’s crazy really. Everybody that is committed, we have the same personalities. There is not one person that does not like each other,” Edwards said. “We get along so well. It’s really just a coincidence that we are all on the same team. It helped me decide on Kentucky. I knew a lot of people not just from Kentucky that tried to get me to come to Kentucky and I met almost all the commits on my visits. Since I committed I have been doing the same thing.
“UK fans are the best, too. Before I even committed if I said one thing about UK, I got a lot of retweets (on Twitter) and mentions. As soon as I committed, I got a lot of followers. Fans are crazy, but they are really, really good.”
So is tight ends coach Vince Marrow, UK’s primary recruiter in Ohio.
“Me and him have a good relationship. He always talks about how he went to the SEC. He wants to touch base with me and all Ohio recruits. My parents really liked him, too. It was really a good fit for me,” Edwards said. “Plus, coach Stoops has put more defensive backs in the league (NFL) than any other coach. They came to Florida State and went from one of the worst defenses to the best. I did my homework on Kentucky even with all coach Marrow told me.”
He also has a unique relationship with UK safety coach Bradley Dale Peveto, the oldest coach on UK’s staff.
“He is hilarious. He always calls me Big Daddy. He knows what he is doing. He says he loves me and needs me,” Edwards said. “He’s easy to like and want to be around.”
Edwards hopes he has plenty of what Stoops and Peveto want.
“I am a vocal player and leader, I bring wins to the team. My speed and versatility … I could play safety, corner, lot of positions. I can really help out the team a lot. I am a big hitter. I might not be the biggest, but I will still hit somebody,” Edwards said.
He’s optimistic about UK’s future.
“A lot of players talk about Kentucky. Even my teammates keep saying they wish they would get an offer from Kentucky,” Edwards said. “You can just tell it is a good place to come. When our class comes in, we should be good. By 2015, our class will help have Kentucky competing for SEC championships and big things will be happening. Last year they had a good recruiting class. This year we are going to be top 10. It’s great to know I am part of that.
“I just want to get my degree and, of course, I am dreaming of making it to the league. But I just want to make a good career and help history be made at Kentucky. Just be a great team and be recognized in the future. I just want to get a lot of wins and make history.”