Edwards a top priority for Illini

Illinois already has a quarterback commit in the Class of 2015.

Champaign Centennial's Jimmy Fitzgerald fits that description.

But Illinois is actively recruiting another in-state quarterback.

Albeit one that likely won't play quarterback in college.

Downers Grove North's David Edwards made at least two trips down to Champaign-Urbana in the past month, checking out the Illinois spring game on April 12 and attending a spring practice in mid-March.

The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Edwards will likely play tight end in college as he mulls through offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.

Illinois inside linebackers coach Mike Ward — whose recruiting area covers Downers Grove North — and Illinois recruiting coordinator Alex Golesh, who also coaches the tight ends, are the lead recruiters on Edwards.

Tight end is a position of need for Illinois in the Class of 2015 with projected starters Matt LaCosse and Jon Davis set to graduate after the 2014 season.

Edwards already has a built-in connection to Illinois.

His cousin, Garrett Edwards, was a safety at Illinois from 2006-09.

Hence he already has an idea of what tight end he enjoys watching.

"Michael Hoomanawanui was my cousin's roommate in college," Edwards said of the current New England Patriot, "and he's big around my family."

His big frame is an asset college coaches feel will prove valuable in college once he makes the switch to tight end.

Edwards said he is still slated to play quarterback this fall for Downers Grove North, which advanced to the Class 7A state quarterfinals last season before losing Illinois running back signee Matt Domer and Chicago Mt. Carmel, and isn't upset about moving to tight end in college.

"I think my size and athleticism will help me the most (in college)," Edwards said. "I am comfortable with (switching to tight end). I understand that's what colleges want me to play, and it doesn't matter to me."

The pitch the Illini coaching staff is making to Edwards is direct and to the point.

"They want to keep the top players in Illinois, so we can build something special," Edwards said. "I really like the school and the campus, and I have a great relationship with the coaching staff."

Illinois should know before its season opener against Youngstown State on Aug. 30 what college Edwards plans to choose.

He doesn't want to hold off on the decision too much longer.

"I'd like to decide before the start of my senior year," Edwards said. "I would like to get it out of the way before the start of football so I can focus on school and sports."
 

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