2014 Target: Avery Edwards

2014 Target: Avery Edwards

RALEIGH, N.C. --- North Carolina is hoping Avery Edwards, a 6-foot-5, 220-pounder from Ravenscroft School, will become its next great tight end.

Scouting Report

"He brings a tremendous amount of competitiveness to the field," Ravenscroft head coach Ned Gonet said. "He has a good work ethic. When you see him perform out there, he takes it to another level. He continues to develop year in and year out. He has really worked on the little things to make him better at his craft. He's the first one to practice [and] the last one out there working on his skill set. He does a good job in the weight room. He has good speed for a big guy.

"I think down the road most people are looking at him to move inside as a tight end or H-back because of his size. With his hands, he'll be very effective in the passing game. We're going to work really hard this year to make him better at the point-of-attack of blocking."

Prep Career

As a freshman, Edwards started at wide receiver for Ravenscroft.

It was during Edwards's sophomore campaign, though, that he truly broke out, catching 45 passes for 659 yards and nine touchdowns on his way to All-Conference and All-State honors. That season he also started at safety.

Edwards's numbers dropped some during his junior season (40 receptions for 490 yards and four touchdowns), but he repeated as an All-State and All-Conference selection. He also led his team in tackles on defense.

This coming season, Edwards will line up – for the first time – as a true tight end. Though, they'll be some sets where he'll be flanked out wide. He'll also move from safety to defensive end.

Recruitment

Six schools have offered Edwards – Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Pittsburgh, Virginia, and Wake Forest.

"I would say the majority of the teams in the ACC have shown some interest in him to some degree," Gonet said. "… But because of his participation in the Under Armour Combine in early January where he came out rated as the top tight end, he's become a national entity. Since then, Penn State's been in here, Notre Dame's been in here, [and] Michigan's been in here. We've had contact from Auburn, Alabama."

Every school plans to convert Edwards into a tight end once he arrives on campus.

"I think because of his aggressive nature and because of his athleticism, I think he can develop into a really good tight end," Gonet said. "He's not a product yet that's ready for us to turn over. But I think as he goes through another year working specifically at that craft of tight end – doing the type of blocking you need down there, using all the different types of techniques you use – I think he'll make an easy transition."

The only junior day Edwards has been able to attend was UNC's in January. But he did visit Duke on Wednesday night for the basketball game against the Tar Heels. This Saturday, he'll attend NC State's Junior Day. He also plans to return to UNC in the coming weeks.

"I'm going to try to get back up there with Coach Bell to watch some film," Edwards said."Coach Bell, he told me ‘Hey, I want to get you in here and show you what [Eric] Ebron does. I want to show you how we use the tight end. And I want to show you why UNC is the best fit for you.'"

Speaking of Ebron, Bell has told Edwards he could be Ebron's heir in UNC's offense.

"Being thought about like Ebron is a huge compliment," Edwards said. "I've watched the man play – he's incredible [and] he's definitely an NFL prospect. Any time I'm compared to somebody like that, it's a humbling experience. And it makes you work harder, because people are making these expectations for you and you want to reach them.

"[Bell] tells me I have the frame, I have the speed, [and] I have the potential to be a great tight end in their offense. He said they're offense is a little different – you don't have to be a big, buffy blocker. But you have to be able to get out there and catch some balls up the seam and by creating mismatches."

The relationship between Edwards and Bell began to flourish when Edwards attended the UNC-NC State football game last football season.

"He's a great guy," Edwards said of Bell. "When I showed up for the game, he was at the door waiting for me. I hadn't really talked to him [before that], but he knew me as soon as I walked in. He took me up to Coach [Larry] Fedora's offense and I got to talk to Coach Fedora – he's a great guy.

"I talked to both of them at the junior day and I talk to [Bell] on the phone often. He tells me that UNC is a perfect fit for him, because Coach Fedora is like a father to him, because he didn't grow up with a father. So I'm really starting to build a relationship with him."

Besides UNC, Edwards also attended games at Duke, Michigan, NC State, Tennessee, and Wake Forest during the football season.

As a fan, Edwards has made countless visits to NC State. For several years, his family bought NC State season tickets in both football and basketball.

"As I've been playing football more, I haven't had an opportunity to use our season tickets so my fandom has faded," Edwards said. "Really, any sport I just love watching. It was just convenient for me to cheer for State, but I'm just a fan of the sport. It's not really going to play a factor into my college decision.

"I am interested in meeting Coach [Dave] Doeren and seeing what they're doing. Somebody told me they're going to try to run an Oregon-style offense – similar to UNC."

Edwards's older brother is a student at NC State. But both of his parents graduated from UNC.

Edwards doesn't claim any favorite schools.

"I want to try to commit before my senior year, but as recruiting is picking up – after 2013 Signing Day the college coaches have really jumped on me – so I don't know when I want to commit," Edwards said. "All these schools are great opportunities for me academically and to show my talent on the football field. But I think over the summer time, I'll try to make a list of a top five or a top three."

Extra Notes

As a freshmen and sophomore, Edwards played basketball for Ravenscroft, winning the state championship as a sophomore. He decided not to play this season so that he can focus on bulking up… Two of Edwards's former teammates, Connor Gonet and Connor Frye, play football for UNC. Gonet is the son of Edwards's head football coach.

Avery Edwards Profile

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