“This is a big blow,” John Bunting said.
UNC trainers noticed Edwards shoulder was bruised the week prior to the USF game, and he was held out of contact situations on Tuesday. On Wednesday and Thursday he practiced with pads on and did “extremely well,” Bunting said.
“Then, in the pre-game warm ups, I saw it. It was kind of a grazing blow. That’s the second time we’ve had a freak collarbone injury – the first one being Richard Quinn. I saw what took place in pre-game, and it was just a freak thing,” Bunting said.
“This is a crack, not a compound fracture. It will take some time to heal, but he’ll be good as new. He played the whole game long. He’s a really tough young man.”
However, barring any unlikely medical redshirt considerations by the NCAA – Edwards has already played in all six games this season – his collegiate career is over.
“He’s obviously very, very upset,” Bunting said. “He is distressed. I feel terrible for the young man. He’s a favorite of mine, he always had been. He’s had some tough times here. I told him he’s going to be a better man someday because of this.”
Junior Martel Thatch or sophomore Garrett White will start in place of the injured Edwards in base defensive packages – to be determined this week in practice, Bunting said.
Redshirt freshman Kennedy Tinsley will fill in at the nickel position.
Edwards goes out leading the Tar Heels in ’06 with 42 tackles (28 solo), including 4.5 tackles for losses totaling 21 yards. He also had two sacks and recovered two fumbles.
The 6-feet-2, 235-pound SAM linebacker from Tampa recorded 250 tackles in his UNC career, with five sacks, 20 TFLs, five fumble recoveries and three interceptions.