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Eligibility for transfer defensive back Brian Edwards unknown, remains 'in NCAA's hands'


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Central Michigan safety Brian Edwards stretches prior to practice Aug. 5 at the Bennett Track Field.

Brian Edwards was arrested for first-degree misdemeanor battery of his girlfriend in May and spent time at the Alachua County Jail, but the charges were later dropped in June due to insufficient evidence for the state attorney's office to pursue the case.

His girlfriend declined to press charges, and the Florida defensive back decided to leave the Gators through the transfer portal just a month later. 

“This was a very tough decision for me," Edwards said in his statement on Twitter. "I have built great relationships, impacted others, and grown so much throughout the time attending the university.”

Now the off the field incident with his girlfriend may or may not have played a role in Edwards' decision to move destinations. However, in his post online, he noted his time in Gainesville had "some ups and downs."

Regardless of what he meant, Edwards isn't on Florida's campus anymore.

He's 1,175 miles away in the small college town of Mount Pleasant and, of course, playing for the coach that once recruited him – Jim McElwain.

"First and foremost, I obviously recruited Brian. He's a wonderful kid," McElwain said. "I love his mom. One thing I always tell every one of the kids I recruit is, 'I'm here for you, and I'll do everything I can to help you.'"

All of that, encompassed within three months. For icing on the cake, there's even more uncertainty that surrounds him.

The new piece of the unknown that follows Edwards is his eligibility due to NCAA transfer rules. He has two years remaining, but he's hoping to get a waiver to get on the field beginning late August when the Chippewas host Albany.

"As far as the eligibility piece, it's in the NCAA's hands," McElwain said. "It'll be interesting to see. It seems like the bigger schools get their guys cleared, but we'll find out about our school."

Edwards' angle for persuasion has not been made public, but it doesn't help his cause that the NCAA adjusted four of its 13 transfer waiver guidelines in late June that made it more difficult for student-athletes to gain immediate eligibility when transferring from one Division I institution to another. 

Regardless of what happens, Edwards gets just two more years on the college gridiron.

Edwards enters a room of safeties that has less depth compared most positions on defense. He joins senior Da'Quaun Jamison, junior Alonzo McCoy, sophomore Devonni Reed and junior Gage Kreski as players fighting for time on the field.

In his two seasons playing for Florida, of which one was in 2017 for McElwain, Edwards played in 18 games. He spent time on defense and special teams. The 6-foot-2, 192-pound defensive back was expected to be in a backup position for the Gators in 2019.

While playing for Miramar High School in Hollywood, Florida, Edwards was named to the 2016 Class 8A All-State First Team Defense and was selected to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's 2016 All-County 8A-6A Second-Team Defense. Edwards was a three-star prospect out of high school, ranked No. 575 in the nation, No. 58 at cornerback and No. 77 in Florida, per the 247Sports Composite.

Back on that Monday night in May 2019, Edwards' girlfriend had marks on her neck and a scratch on her shoulder, according to the Orlando Sentinel. When read his rights, Edwards declined to speak to officers.

"He was cleared of everything and reinstated at his last place," McElwain added.

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