School of the Osage senior Jason Edwards originally planned to attend the University of Missouri to pursue a mechanical engineering degree.
Then the Tigers noticed his athleticism and asked him to sign on as a decathlete to participate in 10 track and field events next year. Edwards made it official on Tuesday afternoon as he signed with Mizzou among his family, coaches, friends and teammates.
“I saw that I had the opportunity and I was really close so then I tried to push it one step farther and follow through,” Edwards said of obtaining the track and field scholarship. “It just took a lot of hard work on the track.”
Osage throwing coach Charlie Gordon, who works with Edwards in numerous field events, did not hesitate to emphasize that work ethic and he is excited to see what the senior can do for the Tigers.
“I’m extremely excited for Jason and it goes back to his work ethic. His effort in the weight room and his assertiveness to be around at every practice is awesome,” Gordon stated. “He excels there and he is very responsible. I’m excited for him not only to be a Division 1 athlete, but to see what he is going to do because he is going to come on the scene very quickly. When you are talking about the Southeastern Conference, he is going to be going up against kids that are just as athletic as he is if not more athletic. Seeing him rise to his potential is going to be huge.”
Edwards will participate in the 100-meter dash, the 110-meter high hurdles, the 400-meter dash, 1500-meter run, high jump, pole vault, long jump, shot put, discus and javelin next year for the Tigers and it is easy why Mizzou is interested in utilizing all of his athleticism. The senior was a three-sport athlete for the Indians playing football, basketball and participating in track and field and he earned numerous accolades for his efforts.
On the football field, Edwards was an All-State punter and kicker and was voted as an All-Conference wide receiver, place kicker, punter and honorable mention defensive back this past season alone.
As a track and field athlete, Edwards has earned All-State twice in the pole vault placing fourth in 2015 and fifth in 2016 and last year he took second at state in the javelin event. This year, he has stepped up his game earning the title of All-Conference MVP by accumulating the most points at the Tri-County Conference track and field meet on May 4. Edwards was the conference champion in the javelin, long jump, high jump and pole vault. Not to mention, that he holds the school record in the javelin (155 feet) and pole vault (14 feet, seven inches) and may be poised for another successful year at the state track and field meet being among the top four seeds in four different events.
Edwards may be a man of few words, but Gordon said the athleticism he displays speaks for itself.
“I think he is going to bring a huge level of excitement. He is not the most vocal kid in the world and he is not one to put his emotions on the line, but his aura of athleticism is going to be huge," the coach said of what he will bring to Mizzou. “When he gets there, his teammates are going to realize why they signed him as a decathlete. I believe he is going to help them contend for an SEC title. I really do.”
Edwards said he will be following a family tradition by attending Mizzou as many of his family members have attended the school in Columbia, but he will also miss some traditions from School of the Osage.
“The family atmosphere and being together as a team,” Edwards mentioned specifically.
Gordon said replacing Edwards will be easier said than done, but he hopes someone will take the initiative and follow in his footsteps.
“I’ll miss his competitiveness and raw athleticism. When we got the javelin event last year, and not just the javelin, but he has pushed kids here at School of the Osage to throw farther and try to match him,” the coach pointed out. “It is leading us into more competitiveness and better results. His ability to score 40 points at the conference meet is irreplaceable so finding the next kid that is willing to follow in his footsteps as far as athleticism is going to be huge.”
Another thing Gordon said underclassmen could learn by Edwards’ example is the sheer desire he displayed on a daily basis.
“You can be the best athlete in the world and throw something in the ground miss a board, miss a step or just have a mistake, but Jason just continues to get back up and do it again,” Gordon said. “His willingness to want to be successful and push himself in first place on the field or in the classroom is going to push other kids to match that so it will be pretty awesome to watch him and I’m looking forward to it.”
Edwards will look to finish out his Osage career on a strong note, but he will stay fairly busy once that chapter comes to an end as he prepares for life as a decathlete at Mizzou. Time will soon tell if he can continue to raise the bar as he has done the past four years as an Indian.