Kentucky defensive back Mike Edwards is making a name for himself as one of the premier defensive backs in the SEC. He is an unquestioned leader for the Cats on the field.
Edwards had 100 tackles and 3 interceptions last season including 2 interceptions in the Louisville game. He was on the All SEC second team, one of only 3 Cats to be so honored. Senior center Jon Toth made the first team and sophomore Jordan Jones made the second team along with Edwards.
One of the best DB's in CFB Who doesn't get enough recognition is Mike Edwards— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) July 5, 2017
In 2016 Edwards had 100 Tackles & 3 INTs pic.twitter.com/KHyKmahUfB
The junior is expected to be the top cover man for the Cats this season. Edwards usually plays strong safety but he can play either safety position, cornerback or nickel back.
In a Courier Journal interview Kentucky defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot had this to say about Edwards, “Mike is an extremely good player. Mike is arguably the best player on our defense. Mike is very smart. Mike is very athletic. Mike is our best cover guy. Mike is probably our best as coach says ‘football IQ’ guy on defense. Mike may be our best tackler. Mike may be our best blitzer.”
Defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale described Edwards in the same CJ article;
“He’s done a lot of studying in the film room to get better, to understand the game,” Clinkscale said, “but he’s just one of those guys that just naturally has that ability and is going out every week and performing the way he needs to.”
“He’s starting to better understand the concepts and how to be a leader out there,” Clinkscale said. “Every once in a while you get a couple guys who just naturally make things happen.”
Edwards is seen as a future NFL player by many. The Courier Journal reported, “Edwards may have the highest draft stock heading into the 2017 season after a breakout year that saw him lead all Southeastern Conference defensive backs with 100 tackles as a sophomore.”
Edwards had a breakout game against the 11th ranked Louisville Cardinals. The Cards came into the game as the nation’s leading scoring offense but they were held to 8 points below their average.
The two interceptions by Edwards tied a Governor’s Cup record. His third quarter interception set up a UK touchdown drive. His interception on the last play of the game sealed the win for the Cats. We have to look back to 1977 to find a win over a higher ranked team in a UK road game.
Edwards was named the SEC Defensive Player Of The Week for his efforts against the rival Cardinals. He also had 6 tackles and half a quarterback sack in the game.
Edwards also had this interception returned for a touchdown last season.
Edwards is now looking to keep pushing his team to new levels after last year’s breakout season for Mark Stoops and his program.
“We talk about it all the time. Just trying to build the team together, and the past years didn’t go as well, but we’ve been progressing every year,” Edwards told LEX 18 this week. “We went from 5-7 to now 7-6, so we’re doing pretty well and picking it up.”