- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2005

Stanford quarterback Trent Edwards wasn’t going to play football his freshman year in high school. He was going to concentrate on basketball and baseball at Los Gatos High School in Northern California before he met Charlie Wedemeyer.

A football player himself at Michigan State, Wedemeyer was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, at age 30 and was given one to three years to live, but he surpassed those predictions long ago. And though he is on 24-hour life support and can move only some facial muscles, Wedemeyer continues to coach football at the junior varsity level for Los Gatos.

“He was my first quarterbacks coach in high school and really motivated me to play,” Edwards said. “He loves football so much. He’s very goal-oriented and passionate.”

Apart from football, Edwards helps out with the Charlie Wedemeyer Family Outreach program. The nonprofit organization raises money for the Bay Area Chapter of the ALS Association and for ALS research.

“My sister works for the outreach foundation,” Edwards said. “I try to volunteer as much as I can.”

At the urging of Wedemeyer, Edwards played football at Los Gatos and became one of the nation’s top prep quarterbacks. USA Today rated him as the top signal-caller in the country his senior year, and every other major recruiting outlet had him at or near the top.

Edwards had his choice of schools but signed with the local team, Stanford, over other finalists UCLA and Michigan. He was viewed as a player who would help the Cardinal emerge as a potential national power, but after a redshirt year and two injury-riddled seasons as a starter, it hasn’t happened yet.

“When you accept that scholarship, you’re expected to win,” Edwards said. “That’s something you have to handle. You can use the pressure to motivate yourself. I’m trying to use it to make our team better.”

Stanford won only four games last season and was picked near the bottom of the Pacific-10 Conference by all preseason publications, but everything could be in place for Edwards to live up to the lofty expectations when his season begins tomorrow at Navy.

He has a new head coach in Walt Harris, who left Pittsburgh after returning that program to respectability. Harris has gained a reputation as a quarterbacks guru, developing numerous passers into NFL prospects.

“Things are going really well,” Edwards said. “[Harris] is definitely the type of coach that I respond well to. He’s very passionate and a good motivator. He’s made us all work a little harder in the offseason, and I expect people to be able to see the results this season.”

Edwards needs to cut down on poor decisions (20 interceptions in 17 games) and stay healthy. Besides some routine injuries — shoulder troubles and minor concussions — he received quite a scare during his redshirt freshman campaign when he spent 10 days in the hospital, including five in the ICU, because of compartment syndrome, a condition in which pressure within muscles prevents nourishment from reaching nerve and muscle cells.

Three surgeries later, Edwards had 60 stitches in his leg and a long rehabilitation process ahead of him.

“It was just something I had to deal with,” Edwards said.

Edwards has an experienced cast around him. The offense returns 10 starters, including the entire offensive line and a pair of wide receivers who gave up playing basketball to focus solely on football.

One of those wideouts is Evan Moore, who stands 6-foot-7 and could be an invaluable weapon because of his leaping ability.

“[Edwards] has a strong arm and a quick release,” Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green said. “He’s tailor-made for this offense. [Moore] is taller than two of our guys put together, and he is a huge weapon.”

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