National Signing Day: Fort Pierce Westwood DE Gilber Edmond flips from South Florida to South Carolina
FORT PIERCE — Gilber Edmond's senior year has been full of surprises.
The Fort Pierce Westwood senior defensive end/outside linebacker provided another stunning moment Wednesday morning when he signed with South Carolina. The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder had been verbally committed to South Florida for the past two weeks.
“It’s been hectic and exciting,” said Edmond, ranked No. 9 on the TCPalm Super 11. “I always dreamed about this day. The day finally came, the opportunity came and I just took it. (I knew) this morning.
“Crazy is an understatement.”
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South Carolina quietly has been showing interest in Edmond for the past few weeks but didn’t offer until early Wednesday morning. Edmond, who visited the school during the Treasure Coast Elite Bus Tour over the summer, immediately accepted.
“South Carolina texted this morning and said, ‘We want Gilber,’” Westwood coach Jeff George Jr. said. “I went to Gilber and said, ‘There’s this offer on the table.’ They called me at 7:25 to say, ‘Here’s his NLI (national letter of intent).’ I presented it to him and he said, ‘I’m going to South Carolina.’
“He visited the school over the summer and he knew that was the school he wanted to go to. When they came here a couple weeks ago, he knew that’s where he wanted to go, but they didn’t have an offer for him. For them to come on late was a blessing for him. This is no hard feelings to South Florida. This is something the kid wanted to do. It’s his dream and he had to live out his dream.”
Maybe the unexpected should be the norm for Edmond.
He was an unheralded wide receiver with no college offers when spring practices started nine months ago. But when George was hired in early May, he immediately moved Edmond to defensive end.
Edmond became one of the Treasure Coast’s best defensive players in 2019. He recorded 80 tackles, 17 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, four fumble recoveries, one interception and scored four defensive touchdowns — including the game-winning score against Sebastian River in the District 11-6A championship game. Edmond is a finalist for TCPalm’s All-Area Defensive Player of the Year.
Despite his strong senior season and receiving a three-star ranking by 247Sports in December, Edmond’s recruitment didn’t really pick up until last month.
He received offers from several programs, including Central Michigan, Florida Atlantic, South Florida and Western Kentucky and Power 5 programs such as Florida State and Tennessee started showing interest. Florida State did an in-home visit with Edmond on Jan. 21 but didn’t offer a scholarship. Edmond announced he would attend South Florida later that night.
That was the plan, even as South Carolina started getting more serious during the past 10 days.
Gamecocks coaches initially came to the school to recruit Westwood sophomore defensive back Kamari Wilson, but George convinced outside linebackers coach Mike Peterson and defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson to watch Edmond’s film. They were immediately impressed.
On Monday, Peterson asked George to call him and said they really liked Edmond and were considering offering. Tuesday night, Peterson texted George to say it wasn’t going to work. George got a call Wednesday morning saying it was a possibility. Then more texts without a firm decision.
To the outside world, it’s chaos. In recruiting, it’s not that uncommon.
At 7:13 a.m., Peterson reiterated the school’s interest but said it didn’t look like it was going to work. Edmond was prepared to sign with South Florida. Twelve minutes later, Peterson texted George a two-word message “We’re on.”
The NLI arrived at the table for Edmond to sign about 9 a.m. — 30 minutes after the school’s signing day ceremony started.
Edmond was one of three Panthers to sign Wednesday. Defensive back Maurice Green and offensive lineman Daon Thomas signed with Rochester Community and Technical College in Minnesota.
“It’s unbelievable really,” Edmond said. “I know the work that I put in. I felt it was just a matter of time that something would happen. It’s still sinking in. This is what I hoped for and I prayed for. Now that it’s here, it’s just a dream come true.”