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Signing Day
Josh Edwards' final season with Ceres High School's varsity football team didn't play out like he envisioned.

A serious knee injury sidelined him for all but four games in 2009.

"To be honest, I thought I'd never play again," the 5-foot-11, 190-pound quarterback stated.

Edwards will attend University of Mary in North Dakota on partial scholarship. On Wednesday, Josh signed a national letter of intent to continue his education and football career with the Marauders. Parents Ron and Lisa, siblings Rebekah and Jake, and Ceres High head coach Brett Johnson and his wife Robin attended the special ceremony inside the Bulldogs' football locker room.

"It's an honor and a blessing," Edwards said.

Josh plans to visit University of Mary in June. Edwards received a recruitment letter from the Marauders' NCAA Division II football program prior to tearing ligaments in his right knee during Ceres High's Valley Oak League opener at Sonora last October.

"They were still interested even after I got hurt," Josh said. "It means a lot to me they thought enough of me to give me a scholarship. I didn't know if anyone would want me because of the injury. They must have seen some potential."

Josh rehabbed for four months. He's considering playing baseball this spring.

"My knee feels 100 percent right now," he said. "I'm way ahead of schedule because of how hard I've worked."

The devastating experience tested Josh's mental strength as well.

Coach Johnson proved to be an invaluable mentor.

"He talked to me a lot," Edwards said. "He made me want to work out. He kept me in check when I got down on myself. He's been there for me since the seventh grade. He's like part of my family."

Josh started 14 games at the varsity level for the Bulldogs, including all 10 as a junior. The 2008 VOL second-team selection totaled 2,335 yards and 20 touchdowns in a one-and-a-half-year period.

"I'm really proud of how he's handled himself on and off the field with everything that's happened," Johnson said. "I'm excited he gets a chance to continue to play. He's a smart kid. He's coachable. He'll work his tail off to be successful."

Edwards will start practicing with University of Mary in August.

"I'm very excited," he said. "I can't wait to get over there. I'm going to have a good chance of competing for the starting position."