With just more than two weeks left until Signing Day and one official visit still remaining, there are still likely to be some more twists in the recruitment of the consensus number one prospect in the country, Mario Edwards of Denton Ryan, the FSU defensive line commit who took his official visit to Florida State over the weekend.
All of the reports emerging following the visit are extremely positive, as several goes as far as to report that Edwards re-affirmed his commitment to other recruits on the trip and to Jimbo Fisher, saying that he will sign with Florida State ($). However, the big-time defensive line prospect still appears likely to take his final official visit to LSU next weekend and Mack Brown will have his in-home visit with the Edwards family in the coming days.
Mario Edwards, Sr. told Rivals after the visit that his son's established relationships ($) with the other members of the FSU class gives the Seminoles an advantage over FSU and despite all the Texas commits that spent time down in Orlando with MEJ, the reports from the Under Armour game have generally held that the 6-4, 296-pounder spent a great deal of quality time with the FSU commits during the week.
Edwards did tell Blake Munroe of Inside Texas that Texas was his leader at the start of the Under Amour week, but the uber-athletic defender seemed to clarify that position in other statements by saying it was only because he hadn't yet taken his official visit to Florida State.
If there's good news, it stems from a Big Cigar report indicating that MEJ has stayed in contact with the rest of the Texas class and that defensive coordinator Manny Diaz struck the right chords ($) during the family's visit on banquet weekend:
For most of Edwards' recruitment prior to the Texas visit, any school that told or hinted at Mario eventually growing into a defensive tackle fell way behind in the race--that is until Manny sat down with Edwards and his father. Manny Diaz flat told those two that Edwards was going to be playing DT in Texas' scheme. But he also said Edwards would play some on the edge, some as a blitzing LB, and sometimes even in coverage in a fire zone. The point is that Manny was completely honest with the Edwards family, and then he sealed the deal by popping in the film of examples throughout the season. Now other schools are having to play catch up because Edwards and his father know in their hearts that Junior is going to grow into a DT which will be his position in the NFL. Manny Diaz just found a way to navigate the position question landmines.
The other two major factors that could work in favor of Texas are distance and state pride. If MEJ decides that he wants to stay closer to his father and become a legend in the state of Texas, instead of simply a successful out-of-state player at Texas, he may opt to stay in his native state. It's also possible that Diaz has successfully sold Edwards on being able to contribute as a freshman in Austin in a package that would get him on the field immediately, instead of working to earn playing time in an established Florida State front.
Still, the major takeaway from the weekend seems to be that Florida State made the necessary impression to once again vault clearly into the lead, but also that Edwards seems to be prone to shifting direction in his preferences, even if he isn't exactly fickle. In other words, this one ain't over until the ink is dry and the fax is delivered.