When Marcus Edwards (left) moved to Florida, he gained another coach in dad Herm Edwards (right, next to wife Lia)
(By Mikko Simon, NFL Interactive)
Marcus Edwards, a senior wide receiver at Clearwater Central Catholic High School in Tampa, has played just three years of competitive football. This has been a good season for Edwards and he will most likely receive a scholarship to a Division I school.
Most players with as little actual game experience as Marcus might have problems with their nerves in a similar situation. But this doesn't seem to phase him.
Maybe lineage has contributed to Marcus's coolness on the line of scrimmage. His father, Herman Edwards, is not your average sideline dad. He is Herman Edwards of "Miracle in the Meadowlands" fame, a 10-year NFL veteran and the current assistant head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While many high schoolers have parents and peers in the stands cheering for them, Marcus's fan base is a little different. Many of the Buccaneers players come to his games to cheer him on, and earlier this year Hall of Famer Marcus Allen watched him put on a 100-yard receiving performance.
"He's obviously got a lot more pressure on him than I ever had as a high school player," Herman Edwards says of his son.
Marcus Edwards grew up on the West Coast living with his grandmother, but last year he moved to Florida to be closer to his mother and father. After one year at Tampa Catholic high school, Marcus transferred to Clearwater Central Catholic. The CCC team has posted a 6-1 record this season and is aiming for lofty goals.
"I came to CCC and really liked it," Marcus says. "We have a really good quarterback and coaching staff… the staff is the best I've had in high school. We'd like to get to the State Championship this year."
Though Marcus has been around football for a long time, he's relatively new to it as a player. "I didn't let him play Pop Warner so he played a lot of basketball before he played football," Coach Edwards explains. "He's matured into a pretty good football player, considering that the first time he played they had him at tight end."
The younger Edwards has also played in the defensive backfield but feels most comfortable at wideout. "I like playing receiver more than defensive back because I like to score touchdowns," Marcus. "I sort of want to be known separately from my dad because he was a defensive back and he was really good."
That is understandable, as trying to match his father's stellar career would be no small feat. Herman Edwards played in the NFL for 10 years, including nine with the Philadelphia Eagles. After going undrafted out of San Diego State, he went on to start 135 straight games for the Eagles and earned All-NFC honors in 1980 and 1982. He had 38 interceptions during his career in Philly, including postseason play.
Edwards is still best remembered for the November 19, 1978 "Miracle in the Meadowlands," when he recovered a fumble by Giants QB Joe Pisarcik and returned it 26 yards for a score with 31 seconds left to lead the Eagles to an incredible 19-17 win.
"I remember watching my dad play in San Francisco against the 49ers," Marcus reminisces. "That's the only game I remember going to, but the 'Miracle in the Meadowlands' is one of those great moments they show on ESPN. They show that play all the time, so it's pretty funny watching it."
Football All the Time
Marcus grew up in a football environment. He started as a ball boy while at San Jose State when his father was coaching there and moved on to hold the same role in Kansas City for the Chiefs. Now he works the sidelines at Bucs home games whenever he can.
"It's great for me to be able to talk to the Bucs players and ask them about their college experiences, what they did and didn't like," Marcus says. "I feel really lucky and fortunate that my dad is in this business because I get to do great things that other people don't often get to do. I just try to take it all day-by-day and enjoy it."
At home, the Edwards family tries not to talk just about football, but that's not always easy to do.
"Once my dad comes home from work we try not to talk just about football, we try to have just family time and talk about school or something else. On weekends, though, Saturday is all college football and Sundays the TV is on NFL football and that's it," Marcus explains.
Coach on Request
Because Marcus has one of the keenest football minds sleeping just a few doors down from him, you would think that they have a non-stop coaching clinic going on. But that isn't the case.
"I've always told Marcus that whoever is coaching him is the coach, he needs to pay attention to what he's trying to teach you," Coach Edwards says. "When he asks me questions, obviously I give him answers and try to help him, but I've never been one to try to push him. When he asks me, I tell him the truth. I tell him, 'Whatever that coach says, you make sure that you listen to him because he's the coach."
Marcus concurs with his father. "My dad's not a big yeller," he says. "Usually we'll just sit down after my football games and talk about what I could do better. He helps me a lot, but he doesn't try to force anything on me like some dads do."
What Does the Future Hold?
After barely registering on the recruiting radar screen in the past, a strong spring game this year at CCC gained Marcus a lot of attention. Now he's trying to sort out which college he'd like to attend.
"The recruiting process has been really good," Marcus states. "Last year I didn't get any calls or looks from schools and I was worried that I wasn't good enough to play football in college. But my dad told me not to worry. Then I played my spring game with CCC and I had eight catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns, and that really put me on the map."
In most recruiting publications, Edwards is listed as a mid-major to major prospect with inquiries from top-end schools such as Southern Cal, Purdue and Ohio State.
"I'm wide open to go to any college, I'm just enjoying the process," Marcus says. "My mom helps me out with the process. She works in athletics [at the University of South Florida] so she knows all about the NCAA and their rules and regulations."
As far as Coach Edwards is concerned, football is not the main thing Marcus, or any other college recruit, should worry about the most when making a decision on schools.
"We've tried to help Marcus understand that it's good to like the coach, but you never know how long he's going to be there," he says.
"We also remind him that though they're recruiting him to play a sport, the first thing he's going to college for is to get an education. I think all colleges will give you an opportunity to get an education, but it's up to you to use the vehicles and tools they give you to get that education.
"The third thing we tell Marcus is when he visits a campus, he has to ask himself if he got hurt or if the coach left, would he still want to stay there for five years. That's something I think every kid needs to ask himself, and we want Marcus to be able to answer that question for himself."
Turning Back the Clock
Watching his son play football in high school brought back lots of memories for the former NFL great.
"As a parent you want your kids to enjoy sports," Coach Edwards states. "And similar to life, you have adversity and the joy of winning.
"The good thing about sports is that it isn't as serious as life. Sometimes you lose and you think it's a tragic moment, but actually all you did was lose a game. Just being around other kids and the camaraderie that comes from being a part of a team and wanting guys to achieve something is good for young people to learn," he explains
"I've been away from high school football for a long time, but now that I've been going to games again, I look back and realize how much fun high school football was," Edwards says. "College was great and playing pro football was great, but high school is where you really learn a lot about yourself. The thing about high school is that when you remember your high school days 15, 20 years later, you always remember yourself being a little better than you actually were."
"The guys that you meet, you'll still keep in contact thanks to football. I see it now for myself and I hopefully will see it through Marcus in the future."