As the center on Kentridge High’s football team, LeRoi Edwards thinks of himself as “the commander of the offensive line.”

  • BY Wire Service
  • Wednesday, June 11, 2008 12:00am
  • Sports
LeRoi Edwards did hardly any sports in junior high

LeRoi Edwards did hardly any sports in junior high

As the center on Kentridge High’s football team, LeRoi Edwards thinks of himself as “the commander of the offensive line.”

“I have to know everyone’s job,” he said.

Give this guy a chance, and he’d probably take a shot at doing everyone’s job – not all at once, of course, but maybe play center one game, then try guard, and then tackle.

The point is this: There’s no point trying to limit Edwards to just one thing when it comes to any aspect of life, including athletics. During the course of his four years at Kentridge, he evolved into a standout three-sporter – football, wrestling and track – in an era when more and more kids are taking the opposite approach and specializing in just one thing.

And Edwards eagerly acknowledged he would have tried additional sports if he’d had additional time. But his time as a Charger is almost up. So while he can’t put any more activities on his resume’, he can tack on another accolade:

Edwards has been selected as the Kent-area Male Prep Athlete of the Year.

“I would have liked to do judo. It would have been fun to go out there and try,” Edwards said of KR’s state-championship program in that sport. “I was going to do golf before I went out for football. I guess I would try everything … swimming … and I wish I could do gymnastics – that’s the one thing I would do.

“I’d just try everything because that’s the way my personality is.”

But quantity isn’t Edwards’ primary motivation. He’s all about quality.

• Last fall in football, Edwards was named the Offensive Lineman of the Year in the South Puget Sound League North Division. He also was an All-SPSL North first-team defensive lineman, and was an all-state nominee for the second year in a row. He wound up with three letters in that sport.

• During the winter on the wrestling mat, Edwards was considered a top-six prospect for state. He exceeded that conventional wisdom, advancing all the way to the 285-pound championship match at Mat Classic.

• This spring, he was a solid javelin thrower and shot putter as he earned his second letter in track and field.

“I’ve pretty maxed out my time here,” Edwards said. “I’ve done a lot of things, but I’m ready for someone else to take the reins.

Building from Square One

Unlike some athletes whose names and talented reputations precede them to high school, Edwards didn’t arrive at Kentridge with a long list of accomplishments from his days at Meeker Junior High.

Matter of fact, he didn’t have a list at all.

“In junior high, I didn’t do anything,” Edwards said. “I sat on the bench for football. I played maybe half a dozen plays all year.”

Now, he’s a guy who has racked up 10 letters, a 3.55 grade-point average, and has spent this school year serving as Kentridge’s ASB president.

“I like to have my fingers in all the jars and make sure everything is running smoothly,” Edwards said.

It was some ninth-grade struggles on the wrestling mat that helped build Edwards into the accomplished athlete that he became.

“Wrestling my freshman year really helped. It put me through a lot of pain and adversity,” Edwards said. “I won two matches, and one was by forfeit. I was this freshman wrestling grown men.

“From there, I figured something out.”

Chargers football coach Marty Osborn saw that on the gridiron, where Edwards became a three-year starter at center.

“He started out as a leader of the line, and ended up being a team captain,” Osborn said. “Glenn Dacus, our line coach, is a former center, and he’s always looking for that top-notch guy to get in there. LeRoi showed a lot of promise as a young kid. This year, he did a nice job transitioning when we moved to a spread offense and he was having to shotgun-snap all year.”

Osborn sees plenty of good times ahead for the kid who went from doing almost nothing to doing practically everything.

“Getting into college, playing just one sport, no ASB, no wrestling, no track … the sky is the limit for him,” Osborn said. “I can really see him bloom.”

Into the wild blue yonder

Late last fall, Edwards also figured out where he wanted to do that blooming: in Colorado Springs at the Air Force Academy, where he’ll play football and work toward becoming a pilot.

“I really hadn’t thought about (military) that much until I found out they were interested in me for football,” Edwards said. “I was totally, ‘Whoa, I don’t want to go military.’ But I like it now that I’m going somewhere where I’m going to be getting all this discipline. Especially coming from high school, I haven’t had a whole lot of adversity.”

Were it possible, Edwards probably would take a mulligan or two here and there – perhaps another shot at Decatur’s Tevyn Tillman, who beat him in the Mat Classic finals, 7-0. (“He isn’t that big, but he’s fast and strong and has good hips,” Edwards said of his friendly rival.) Or maybe another toss of the javelin and shot after falling short of a state berth in both at the West Central District meet. (“District was just a bad day,” he said.)

But mostly, Edwards will take a sense of satisfaction from a multi-faceted job well done.

“I’m pretty happy with all of my performances,” he said. “And even when it’s not a good performance, you build off of it.”

And if you’re Le’Roi Edwards, you never limit that building to just one thing.

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