Steve Edmond always possessed the talent necessary to succeed at the college level.
Edmond committed to the Longhorns out of Daingerfield High School as the second ranked inside linebacker in class of 2011, according to Scout.com, a 4-star prospect with ideal size and capable coverage skills.
But his high school dominance failed to translate during his first two years at Texas. Still, the junior linebacker never lacked motivation or confidence in his ability. Instead, he simply struggled to overcome his nerves.
“[I felt] nervous, like you don’t want to fail,” Edmond said. “Once they said ‘hut,’ it’s like I froze. Last year, sometimes I didn’t know what to do, so I just froze.”
Edmond believes these feelings are in the past. The repetitiveness of practice coupled with having a full season as a starter of experience allowed him to enter this season with a renewed confidence. Edmond led the team with 63 tackles, seven passes defended, as well as a team lead-tying two interceptions.
His growth proved evident last Saturday night against West Virginia, when he knocked down a pass in the end zone on third down and recorded an interception on fourth down to clinch a seven-point, overtime victory for the Longhorns. While his biggest strides this season have come in defending the run, Edmond believes he is at his best when given the opportunity to make plays in the passing game as he did against the Mountaineers.
“It’s natural for me to just read the quarterback’s eyes,” Edmond said. “I really like dropping into coverage and trying to get into passing lanes to break the ball up.”
While Edmond’s play continues to make major noise, he remains one of the most introverted members of the team. He far prefers the solitude of hunting and fishing in his free time to going out with his teammates, but his quiet nature does not reflect his enormous passion for football.
“It’s clear to me that he wants to be good,” defensive coordinator Greg Robinson said. “I think sometimes people take his quiet demeanor like he isn’t aware of what’s going on. And what I’ve learned is that he is a bright football player, and I just think he is only going to get better.”
Junior cornerback Quandre Diggs said he remains impressed with the strides Edmond made this season, and he expects him to continue to improve.
“I feel like he’s just scratching the surface of what he can be because he’s a tremendous player,” Diggs said. “He’s a great person. You couldn’t ask for a better guy, just for good things to happen to Steve.”
Edmond’s experience and production this season allowed him to step up as the leader of the linebacker corps when junior linebacker Jordan Hicks went down with a ruptured Achilles. As his responsibilities increase, he’ll have no reason to ever feel nervous on the football field again.