Denton Ryan's No. 1 national recruit following dad to Florida State

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by TED MADDEN

WFAA

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 12:26 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 2 at 1:42 PM

DENTON - Signing day at Denton Ryan High School was a little different this year.

Just as head coach Joey Florence was getting it started, his senior defensive end and ESPN's No. 1-ranked recruit in the country was conducting a live interview with the network.

"I tell you what, it's been intense with all the publicity and all the media," Florence said. "He's handled it very well. Like I said, I think you can see today, it's been crazy."

Game video of Mario Edwards, Jr. shows just what kind of an impact player Florida State expects him to be.

But it takes only a second to see his raw athleticism, as he showed us early in his junior season, when he did a standing backflip for our camera.

We couldn't get over the fact that a kid as big as Mario, who is 6-foot-4 and 290 pounds, can do a backflip on request. We weren't going to ask him to do it again this year, but he offered.

"I can do it right now if you wanted me to," Edwards Jr. said.

And so after his press conference, he did, inside the empty varsity locker room.

That athletic ability comes from his dad, Mario Edwards, Sr., a former defensive back with the Dallas Cowboys and with Florida State. So in a way, Senior has been recruiting Junior to be a Seminole for a long time.

"Maybe subconsiously, maybe subconsciously," said the father. "The bottom line was, he wanted to go to a place that felt like home, he had a good relationship with those guys in Tallahassee, and the decision was his."

His son was ready for the challenge ahead.

"It's big shoes to fill," he said. "But I like a challenge. It's good to go there where my dad's alma mater is. Florida State is a good place for me to go out there and excel in my talents."

Florida State hopes for nothing less.

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

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