Editor’s note: Junior linebacker Steve Edmond is the third of five “Players to Watch” who will be featured leading up to the Orange-White scrimmage Mar. 30. The fourth, Quandre Diggs, will be published Thursday.
Steve Edmond won’t talk your ear off and probably wouldn’t win a screaming contest.
The junior linebacker, known among coaches for his soft-spoken nature, has been overlooked as a leader in the past because of his shy ways.
“Steve is very quiet,” head coach Mack Brown said last year of Edmond. “He’s very bright. He’s not going to let you know he’s bright, because he’s not going to talk to you. He won’t look at you in some cases. But he’s got great instincts.”
On the field, the unobtrusive characteristics drift away, and he morphs into a powerful ax with hard hits and speed. Edmond, who won three straight state championships in high school and came to Texas as one of ESPNU’s top 150 national prospects, played in 12 games during his first year, adding 16 tackles.
As a sophomore, he played in all 13 games, starting 12 at middle linebacker, and his numbers made him second on the team in tackles and tied for second in forced fumbles.
But now the stakes are higher for the Daingerfield, Texas native, who will enter his junior year with the pressure of keeping his starting spot and competing against other top linebackers including Dalton Santos and Jordan Hicks.
“The competition between Dalton Santos and Steve Edmond has been great because Steve’s playing much better and Dalton’s all over the place,” Brown said. “I think Steve is at a different place with his intensity than he was this time last year.”
A large part of that intensity has come with increased conditioning to trim down during spring practice. As Santos worked tirelessly to lose weight, Edmond followed suit, Brown said.
Santos, a sophomore who saw action in all 13 games last year and led the team in special teams tackles, isn’t giving Edmond an easy time. But the teammate rivalry between the two has helped Edmond as a player.
“Dalton Santos has made Steve Edmond better,” defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Manny Diaz said. “I think Steve has made some big improvements over the last week or so. It’s just a battle, and I am keeping score.”
Hicks is returning from last year’s hip injury and will provide another threat for Edmond if he can stay healthy. A fellow junior who played in every game as a freshman and in 13 games as a sophomore, Hicks brings strength, size and leadership to the field. Sophomore Peter Jinkens, who served as a reserve linebacker and started three games last season, is also vying for a starting slot.
For now, Edmond will continue to plug away in the spring, toning his body, working on tackling and growing quietly as a leader.
Published on March 25, 2013 as "Edmond lets play speak for itself".