In a high school with close to 2,000 students, it takes a lot for one of those students to stand out from the crowd. It really takes a lot to stand out when that student has been at the school for less than a year.
But this was the case for Cabot Panther running back Kyle Edgar, who signed his National Letter of Intent to play football for Stetson University last week.
Edgar rushed for over 900 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Panthers this past season. At 5-feet, 11-inches tall and 190 pounds, he is one of the bigger Panther running backs in the last few years, but also has speed to go with that strength.
“He could have gotten a lot more yards and touchdowns, but we had so many guys who could contribute this year,” said Cabot coach Mike Malham. “I could give him the ball 45 times every night, but that would just about be child abuse.”
Besides being a great athlete, Edgar is an excellent student. He is actually attending the college with a full academic scholarship. He has a GPA over 4.1 and an ACT score over 30.
“He’s the type of kid that if everyone was that smart and that tough on the field, things would be a lot easier as a coach,” Malham said.
Malham knew he had a real player on his hands the first day he met Edgar. An Air Force family, the Edgars moved to Cabot after spending years in Germany. The family came into town at 10:30 that night, and Kyle was at the field house before 6 a.m. finding out what he needed to do to get on the field.
“You knew he wanted to play straight off,” Malham said. “A lot of kids will wait around after transferring, but that was the first thing he did.”
While Edgar was certainly to play for the Cabot Panthers, he wasn’t 100 percent certain that he really could.
Coming from a military base school overseas where his school had less than 300 students and the fans in the stands measured in the dozens — it was quite a culture shock to come to Cabot.
Cabot’s fans measure in the thousands on a good Friday night.
“It was different to be on such a large team,” said Edgar. “But it was also pretty cool because right off the bat, I’ve got 100 friends as soon as I step on the campus.”
Edgar had a very successful football career up to transferring to Cabot. Playing in the Europe league designed for the American military bases there, Edgar was the MVP of championship teams and was the All-Star MVP his junior season.
Still, coming to a play at a school like Cabot was a little daunting for the running back.
“I always knew he could succeed at someplace like this,” said Kyle’s father Rob. “But I’m not sure that he did. He wasn’t crazy about moving again before his senior year, but I really wanted him to have this kind of Friday night experience and it has worked out well.”
The choice for Edgar to pick Stetson wasn’t a very hard one. With no long-term ties to Arkansas, the only school here that he gave serious attention to was Hendrix College. Stetson won out by being close to Daytona Beach. The Edgars lived in Florida before, and Kyle missed that state.
Stetson is known as a strong academic university. This coming season will mark the first time in 57 years the school has fielded a football team.