Lamonte Edwards from Woodbury is one of the elite running backs in the state. Standing 6'2" and 215 pounds, Edwards has already verbally committed to the Gophers for the fall of 2010. The Royals finished last season near the top of the Southeast Conference, but something outside of Edward's, or any of his teammates control is going to change the entire complexion of the team. One of the biggest challenges facing the team will be finding out how they are going to replace nearly twenty starters from last year. They didn't have one of the largest senior dominated classes in school history. East Ridge High School is opening this fall - splitting Woodbury's student body in half.
Despite the massive roster changes Edwards and the rest of his teammates have been going about the business of preparing for the season. After the season, Edwards started in the Royal Speed workout program. Three days a week he would get together with his teammates to lift and run.
"We would do all the basic lifts: dead lift, clean, bench, squat and before that we will run to do some conditioning. After that we would go out and throw the ball around," said Edwards.
Most Saturdays Edwards would also go to Lifetime Fitness to get in an additional weightlifting workout.
As the spring hit, Edwards' focus switched to track. He had not competed in track since junior high. His family is very involved in their church and more than one sport was interfering with Edwards' commitment to his church. As he got his driver's license getting to extracurricular activities and his church activities became more manageable so he was able to get back into track.
Getting back into track paid immediate dividends. Edwards competed in the 100, the 4X100, the 200 - his best event - and occasionally the 4X200. The football benefits from the track season showed up in his shrinking 40 time.
"It helped me out a lot with my football speed," said Edwards. "I ran a 4.6 forty before track. After track I ran a 4.48."
Royal Speed started up again in the summer with more intensity. They do some 7 on 7 work and plyometrics to go with the running and weight room work of the school year. He also spent some time at Football University to continue to improve his game. In addition to Royal Speed, Edwards and a couple other runningbacks have been working with the track coach. They have been doing some additional speed and agility workouts.
Those extra workouts should help Edwards work on the area he is focusing on this offseason.
"I am defiantly looking to improve my footwork," said Edwards. "The way I cut, my quickness and agility and all of that. I have been doing a lot of rope drills and cone drills. At the Football University camp the coaches told me to do a lot of the cone drills we did at Football University. They were really unique drills that I wouldn't even think of."
In addition to runningback, he will be playing linebacker and some defensive end during his senior year. For the Gophers Edwards will be playing runningback. Edwards committed early to the Gophers. He felt comfortable with the coaching staff and felt at home around the campus early on.
Edwards feels his greatest asset he will be bringing into his senior year and the Gophers in two years is his determination running the ball.
"I don't stop until the whistle blows," said Edwards. "I try to get every yard that I can. I run hard. I play hard. I give all the effort I have."
With all of the players Woodbury lost with the new school - particularly on the offensive line - the Royals will need their star runningback to step up again this year to take his game to the next level. With the amount of preparation he has been doing during the offseason, there is no doubt Lamonte Edwards will be up to the challenge.