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BYU Football is in Edwards’ Blood

10 May 2011 Brett Richins 12 Comments

Hurricane High's Corey Edwards (Photo -- Chris Edwards)

Perhaps nothing better illustrates the challenges of BYU’s juggling of missions and scholarships than the story of 2011 football signee Corey Edwards.

Edwards will not be taking the field for BYU until the fall of 2014 at the earliest.

That’s over four years from the time he received a verbal offer of a scholarship from Bronco Mendenhall in June of 2010.

Corey plans to greyshirt during the 2011 season before leaving on a mission in early 2012.

He will return in time for spring ball in 2014 and try to earn the starting job as a freshman that season and step into the shoes of Justin Sorensen, who if everything goes as planned will finish up his BYU career in 2013.

In a normal situation, Edwards would enroll at BYU in 2011 and redshirt behind Sorensen. But the current scholarship crunch in Provo has created a need for Cougar coaches to get a little more creative .

Edwards was first noticed by BYU assistant coach, and at that time the program’s recruiting coordinator, Paul Tidwell, when Corey was a junior at Hurricane High School during the 2009 Utah state high school 3-A championship game.

Tidwell noticed that his kicks offs were consistently sailing into or beyond the endzone. Corey also kicked two field goals in that game.

A short time later Tidwell would make the four-hour drive to Southern Utah to see Edwards kick in person. That was followed up with an invite to the Cougars’ junior day where head coach Bronco Mendenhall was able to see him kick as well. It was during that junior day event that Mendenhall pledged an offer.

Even though the offer was a verbal one at the time, Corey felt like he could take it to the bank.

“I just knew that (Mendenhall) would keep his word,” Corey says. “He told me that he wanted me to go on a mission and that when I came back that I would have a full-ride scholarship.”

The official written offer didn’t come however until just a few days before national signing day on February 2nd — but come it did, as promised some eight months earlier.

On signing day Edwards was a surprise addition to the 2011 class for many BYU fans. He was an unknown in most circles that follow high school recruiting.

What Edwards will bring to the BYU program is a powerful leg that was developed while playing soccer in his earlier years. As a freshman he played linebacker and running back on the junior varsity team at Hurricane. The team was in need of a kicker, so with his soccer background Corey decided to give kicking a try.

So impressive was his leg right from the start, that the following year he became a full-time kicker and started on the varsity team as a sophomore. He would hold down that spot for the rest of his high school career and go on to be named an all-state player in each of his last two seasons.

During his career he made 20 field goals and booted 170 PAT’s. His PAT number is second all-time in Utah high school history, while his career field goals are third all-time.

As mentioned, he also had a reputation of sending his kickoffs in and out of the endzone. Over 85 percent of his kickoffs during his career were touchbacks. As a senior his touchback percentage was a whopping 96 percent.

However, at the beginning of it all, he had to be convinced that he wanted to be a kicker. After all, his great uncle was some guy by the name of LaVell Edwards. Corey’s father Chris and uncle Kerry both played at BYU as well.

BYU football was in his blood.

“It’s been my dream to play at BYU my whole life growing up, ” Corey says. He just didn’t always dream of doing it as a kicker. “I used to think that kickers were wusses — I’m not a kicker.”

It was at a national scout jamboree that he experienced a paradigm shift of sorts.

On that trip he spent time with then future BYU punter and kicker Riley Stephenson of Pine View, who helped Edwards see the light and encouraged him to pursue his talent for kicking and pointed him in the right direction.

It was a direction that ultimately opened the door for an opportunity to play major college football, something that probably wouldn’t have happened had the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Edwards stuck with linebacker or running back.

Having played on such a talented offensive team at Hurricane — the Tigers have made three straight appearances in the 3-A state championship game — Corey was not given as many opportunities to kick field goals as he would have liked.

“I’m not going to lie, sometimes I’m (thinking) — we’ve got to get stopped so I can get in a long attempt,” admits Edwards. “Coach (Chris) Homer said he was going to give me a shot at breaking Justin Sorensen’s (state) record, but we never got the opportunity.”

His career long is a 51-yard boot he made as a junior. That season his leg also provided the Tigers with a huge, game-winning kick to upset 5-A in-state power Skyline as time expired.

As a senior his longest was a 50-yard kick against Dixie, having missed a 57-yarder in the same game when the ball bounced off the crossbar.

Making the step up from high school to college is a big leap for a kicker, just as it would be for any position. The biggest difference may be learning to place kick without a tee.

“Mainly, I would say (the biggest adjustment) is the tee issue,”  Corey explains. “In college you have to kick off of the turf. That’s a big adjustment for a lot of people. That makes or breaks a lot of kickers (coming out of high school).”

Edwards has spent a lot of time practicing his kicks without a tee over the past year, and feels like he will be well prepared to kick at the college level. “I’m kicking better off the ground now, than I was with a tee.”

He also believes that he won’t have a problem getting the ball into the endzone on kickoffs as a collegiate player, despite the fact that he’ll be kicking off from the 30-yard line, instead of the 40 as in high school.

The mental aspect is huge for kickers and that doesn’t change a whole lot when going to the next level, although there are a lot more fans in the stands in college. Corey has worked as hard at the mental aspects of his game, as he has the physical.

“As a kicker you’ve got to remember the good kicks, and you’ve got to forget the bad kicks — fast.”

Cougar fans can look forward too seeing Corey make many good kicks in the stadium that bears the Edwards family name, even though it will be a while before they get that privilege.

Here’s a preview of things to come…

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12 Comments »

  • Jimmerfan said:

    Even though we will have to wait awhile before seeing him on the field, this is perfect timing for their kicking situation. Justin Sorensen will finish his career in 2013 and Corey can step in in 2014. As long as there are no injuries, we will have a kicker to put on the field all the way up to the 2017 season.

    Let’s just hope that Justin won’t get bitten by another spider!

  • Corey Edwards Fan said:

    Good Job Corey !! Way to make the Hurricane Tiger Nation Proud. Your hard work has surly paid off and We are all excited to to see you play!!!!!

  • margene edwards said:

    We are all excited to see what Corey can do in the big time. He has worked hard for 4 years to achieve what he has. He is a great example.

  • Gayle said:

    “So impressive was his leg right from the start, that the following year he became a full-time kicker and started on the varsity team as a sophomore”

    Brett, Not trying to be anal retentive or anything, but in the picture he appears to be kicking with his left let.

  • Gorum the Old said:

    Gayle said:
    “So impressive was his leg right from the start, that the following year he became a full-time kicker and started on the varsity team as a sophomore”

    Brett, Not trying to be anal retentive or anything, but in the picture he appears to be kicking with his left let.

    —————————————–

    Gayle, I think you switch the words around. the article read “So impressive was his leg right from the start” not “So impressive was his right leg from the start”

  • Seasider said:

    I’m glad to see BYU making an effort to get quality kickers. This could be the first year in a long time where we’ve had a kicker who can boot it deep on kickoffs and make good field goals and a punter who can pin consistently pin the opposition deep in their own territory.

  • CougFaninTX said:

    The future is bright for the Cougs. The value of a great kicker is ofter over looked. I can’t wait to see him play, even if I have to be patient until 2014.

  • Jim Tills said:

    I was thrilled when we signed Justin Sorensen because a good kicker is worth one or two close wins a year when playing top-notch teams. Utah fans know how valuable their kickers have been in recent years. (Sakota, etc.)

    When I learned about Corey Edwards in Hurricane and what he was doing, I hoped that we would recruit him and bring him on board. It was exciting to see him accept an offer to “greyshirt” for 2011 as a Cougar. I’m just as thrilled to see him as I was to see Justin Sorensen.

  • Gayle said:

    Oops, dyslexia is so annoying sometimes.

  • Park City Player said:

    You don’t realize how huge Edwards’ leg is until you have to play him. He kicked it OUT of the endzone 7 time in one game!!!
    Good luck to Corey!! And koodos to ALL Utah HS 3A players

  • Jacques Bacamuwanko said:

    Congrats from West Africa Corey, Your father loves you and is so Proud of all your accomplishments.

  • Jacson Parker said:

    Our family has known Corey from the time he was in grade school. Corey is a very nice young man,
    moreover, he is extremely competitive. He will do a fantastic job for BYU. We’re behind you all the way!!!
    Parker Family

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