The past two seasons, Will Edwards has made a name for himself as a standout tailback and wide receiver on the Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep football team.
As a junior, he rushed for 433 yards and nine touchdowns. In 2013, he captained the Broncos to a berth in the Division I quarterfinals and amassed 777 total yards and five touchdowns.
Edwards’ talents are not limited to the gridiron, though, as he has also won two state championships as a starting long stick midfielder on Brophy’s lacrosse team.
But make no mistake, Edwards is far more than just an athlete.
Despite a rigorous workload that features honor classes and an AP course, the senior carries an A-minus average. Edwards has been in Brophy’s choir for four years and currently serves as its vice president. In addition, he was the keynote speaker at the school’s 2013 Summit on Human Dignity.
“It’s nice to be able to do that all stuff off the field,” Edwards said. “I believe there is more to life than sports and football. I think it matters who you are a person and what you do in the community. I’m really great to have all of these opportunities at Brophy.”
Edwards is well-rounded personified, the type of mature student who values not just athletics, but his entire high school experience. He credits a lot of his growth the past four years to both his upbringing and his school.
“It’s a little bit of a credit to Brophy and a little bit of how I was raised,” said Edwards. “My parents never sat me down and told me that I was an athlete and only athlete. They encouraged me to do anything I wanted.
“When I got to Brophy, I realized what an open community it is. Everyone is encouraged to be more than what they think they are. Musicians are encouraged to play football. Football players are encouraged to dance. There’s something for everybody at Brophy. There’s no judgement.”
Of all of his extracurricular activities, which also includes volunteering as St. Vincent de Paul, one stands above the rest: Big Brothers.
“Big Brothers is a program that helps freshmen coming into Brophy who are scared or worried about the transition,” said Edwards, who now works on its leadership council. “I know when I first arrived, I was like, ‘Oh no it’s Brophy. Great football, great academics, great everything.’ I was nervous about who I was going to fit in with and what kind of legacy I was going to leave.
“My Big Brother actually played the same position as me in lacrosse and he did a really good job of helping me fit in and find my niche. So now that I’m a Big Brother, I have an opportunity to pass that down. I can explain to the kids that they don’t have to be just this or hang out with just these people. You can be whatever you want at Brophy. It’s just nice to have that opportunity.”
With graduation just a few months away, Edwards has his sights set on where he’ll be attending school next fall.
While he’s talking to a few Ivy League schools regarding football, Edwards has also applied to Boston College Michigan, Indiana, Northwestern and Wisconsin.
“I’m not going to go to the NFL and make millions of dollars,” said Edwards. “I understand that. There’s only a small percentage of high school athletes that do. So if I can use football to get me into a great school like a Columbia or a Johns Hopkins, then I’ll do that.
“But if it doesn’t get me into a school like that, then I will just go to school.”
Wherever he winds up, Edwards will do so knowing that he’s a Fulton Homes Character Counts Monthly Nominee and the winner of a $100 gift card to Just Sports.
“It means a lot, because I never asked someone to nominate me,” said Edwards. “It shows me that all the work I’m trying to do hasn’t gone unnoticed. That makes me feel really good.”
Edwards is the first of six finalists to be named for the 2014 “Honor Role” Award, which will be announced at a special event in May. The “Honor Role” winner will be presented with a $5,000 scholarship courtesy of Fulton Homes.
If you know a young athlete with character you can nominate them at www.fultoncharacter.com.