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Wisconsin football recruiting: David Edwards ready to establish identity at tight end with Badgers

Even with offers from Big Ten rivals Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, the four-star tight end committed to Wisconsin after his visit in June.

David Edwards

Four-star Downers Grove North (Illinois) prospect David Edwards enjoyed his time in Madison in mid-June for his visit. So much so, he turned to his mother on that Sunday and said to her that Wisconsin was the place for him.

But he wanted to wait a couple of days after the initial camp he participated in and slept on his decision for a couple nights, just to confirm his feelings still held true. On June 18, Edwards called Badgers head coach Gary Andersen, committing to the Badgers and becoming the 14th known commitment to the 2015 class.

Though he played quarterback and defensive end for North going into his senior season, Edwards projects to be a tight end, as he sees himself and fellow 2015 commit Kyle Penniston as well-placed complements in the next line of Badgers tight ends.

Edwards received some early offers from Division I schools like Indiana, Illinois, and Vanderbilt after he took over as starting quarterback his sophomore year. Despite suffering a deep-bone contusion on his left thigh that sidelined him for a portion of his junior season, Iowa, Syracuse and Wisconsin offered the 6'6, 225-pound athlete.

At first, Edwards wanted to play quarterback. He liked -- and still does -- having the ball in his hands to make plays, but programs started to talk about him transitioning to tight end. Some coaches even discussed moving him to offensive tackle.

In the end, Edwards realized the different positions teams were offering didn't matter to him. He wanted to go to a program that gave him the best opportunity to help his program win, and wanted to commit to a school by the beginning of his senior year.

Edwards and his family visited Wisconsin June 14-15. He toured the school that Saturday, then dined with the coaching staff on the Memorial Union Terrace that evening and participated in the camp on Sunday. After giving his verbal commitment to Andersen, offensive line coach T.J. Woods and tight ends coach Jeff Genyk the Wednesday after his visit, Edwards also had to make some difficult calls to two other schools he build relationships with.

"It was very, very difficult to make those phone calls to Illinois and Iowa," Edwards said. "It was hard because both schools -- every school that had offered me and expressed interest -- they're all great schools, but you build relationships with coaches that when you have to say 'no' to them. It's kind of hard, it's kind of difficult, and you can see yourself in different places and stuff like that, but after my visit to Madison, I just felt like that was the place for me.

"I really enjoyed my time with coach Andersen, coach Woods, and coach Genyk, and [offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Andy Ludwig]. It just felt right to me."

Edwards is the second tight end in the 2015 class along with Penniston. He likened his "type" of tight end to former Badger Brian Wozniak, a hand-in-the-ground, on-the-line tight end who focuses on blocking but had opportunities in the passing game in play-action and goal-line situations.

Though Wozniak caught only five passes last season, four went for touchdowns. BadgerNation.com's Ben Worgull believes both of the 2015 commits have an opportunity to contribute to Andersen and Ludwig's offense.

"Penniston and Edwards will likely play two different positions. Penniston will be more of the passing-threat tight end that the Badgers will move in motion pre-snap," Worgull said.

"The two players will be vital to UW's success down the road and will complement each other very well in the scheme of the offense." -Ben Worgull on David Edwards, Kyle Penniston

"Edwards, depending on how much size he adds the next couple years, will likely play with his hand on the ground and take on ends and linebackers. The two players will be vital to UW's success down the road and will complement each other very well in the scheme of the offense."

Along with making a trip to Bucky's Locker Room, seeing the football facilities and his future freshman dorm room, Edwards had a chance to meet Penniston down at the Terrace that Saturday night, and has been in touch with quarterback Austin Kafentzis.

"They all seem like great dudes," said Edwards, who's rated a four-star recruit by Scout.com and a three-star by 247Composite.

"I think Kyle and I -- and coach Andersen told me this -- I think we complement each other very well on as tight ends because we're not the same type of athlete and football player."

Edwards doesn't have an official visit to Wisconsin set yet but believes he'll take one this season. For now, he 's focused on helping his young high school team develop.

After two straight consecutive winning and successful seasons, he hopes to lead North to a similar level seen in past years before finishing up his high school athletic career with basketball.

"I hope we get to the point where we get to the speed of those past teams," Edwards said, "and we understand what it takes to be a good football team that can make it deep into the playoffs."