Tottenville's Edwards picks Syracuse
Augustus Edwards always wanted to be a running back. He just had to wait his turn when he started his football career with the Staten Island Hurricane.
That’s because the backfield already consisted of Laray Smith, a rising senior at Xaverian, and Stacey Bedell, who will be a freshman at UMass in the fall.
Edwards’ persistence paid off and he became one of the most sought-after New York State recruits in the Class of 2013.
On Tuesday morning, the Tottenville rising senior verbally committed to Syracuse University at a press conference at the Huguenot school, which was streamed live on MSGVarsity.com.
“I picked the school that I picked today because I overall feel comfortable with the coaches, I think that’s the biggest reason and the surroundings, the environment when I went up there was great…I’m going to be playing football and furthering my education at the University of Syracuse,” Edwards said as he donned a Syracuse hat and received applause from current and former coaches and family members.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound bruising back chose the Orange over North Carolina State, Virginia and Maryland. It is the second straight year Syracuse nabbed a coveted recruit from Tottenville, picking up a commitment from wide receiver Alvin Cornelius last summer.
Edwards received 17 BCS-level scholarships, the first coming from Vanderbilt and the latest from the University of Miami late last month. While he admits Miami was his “dream school,” Edwards was already determined to play at Syracuse, which offered Edwards at the start of his junior year.
“There has been times when it was tough, like recently when Miami offered me,” he said. “That being my dream school, it was hard, but sometimes you just have to do the right thing for you and I think Syracuse is the right place for me.”
Syracuse is the only school in his final four that he visited – he spent a few days there in April – and he said coaches Doug Marrone and John Anselmo have been recruiting him since his sophomore year.
“They’ve been a leader since they offered,” Edwards said. “It’s a school I’ve been around for a long time. They’ve been here since the beginning.”
Tottenville coach Jimmy Munson first knew he had a special player when Edwards was a sophomore and he stepped up in the postseason when standout Gil Mendoza went down with an injury. He had 19 carries for 121 yards in a semifinal loss to Fort Hamilton.
Last year, Edwards, who also took unofficial visits to Rutgers, UConn and Penn State, rushed for 1,304 yards and 12 touchdowns, helping lead the Pirates to another semifinal appearance.
Munson said coaches who came to Tottenville recruiting Cornelius became enamored with Edwards immediately after his freshman year.
“To be that big, that agile and that fast makes him special,” Munson said. “He’s a running back you never have to take out of the game. He can run the ball downhill, he can run outside, he can pass-block because he’s 6-foot-2, he can catch the ball out of the backfield because he’s got nice, soft hands.”
Now, Edwards will try to convince the top-rated player in New York State to also choose Syracuse. Thomas Jefferson rising senior defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko, a close friend, has narrowed his schools to Florida, Notre Dame and Syracuse.
Ogundeko, who joined Edwards at Tottenville Tuesday for his press conference, will make his announcement on MSG Varsity July 24.
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