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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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USF gets 6-6, 320 tackle
Recruit Damien Edwards is glad to be going back to father Earl's "deep roots in Tampa."
By Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer
Published February 10, 2008
Damien Edwards can be a "great left tackle," his high school coach says, if USF is patient.
TAMPA - USF has made a late addition to its football recruiting class, picking up a commitment Saturday from Damien Edwards, a 6-foot-6, 320-pound tackle from Chandler, Ariz.
Edwards could sign with the Bulls as early as Monday.
"It's a real blessing to get this scholarship," said Edwards, who made an official campus visit this weekend. "My dad has deep roots in Tampa, and I've got a lot of family there as well."
Edwards comes from an athletic family - his father, Earl, a Blake High graduate in the '60s, went on to play 11 years in the NFL as a defensive lineman, mostly with the 49ers and Bills. His brother, Gavin, is a 6-9 sophomore forward on Connecticut's basketball team.
Edwards, who was talking with Fresno State before choosing the Bulls, said USF is recruiting him as a left tackle. He's the third offensive lineman in USF's class, with Plant City's Mark Popek and Lake Gibson's Josh Garvin.
"He's going to be a bit of a project, but if USF can be patient with him for a year or two, he can be a great left tackle," said Jim Ewan, Edwards' high school coach. "He's a good kid from a good family, and the coaches there won't ever have to worry about him."
Edwards will be only the third football player in USF's short history to come from west of Louisiana.
FAMU: Joe Taylor's debut as coach will be Aug. 30 at Alabama State. The Rattlers, who released their schedule, also face Hampton, Taylor's former team, on Nov.15 and Bethune-Cookman in the Florida Classic in Orlando on Nov.22.
Greg Auman can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or 813 226-3346. View his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf.