He isn’t exactly sure when he first got exposed to football, but Edward Warinner seems to remember attending a game at the Air Force Academy about 15 years ago.
The Olentangy Liberty High School senior – who doesn’t have enough fingers on one hand to count the number of states in which he’s lived – always has had the sport to turn to when his life has undergone changes of scenery.
It’s all a part of being the son of a college coach.
“(Football’s) always been my favorite thing, my favorite hobby as a kid,” Warinner said. “It’s what I loved.”
Warinner is back on the field at linebacker this fall after missing the final two weeks of the regular season and all of last year’s Division I state semifinal run with a knee injury.
His father, Ed Warinner, took a coaching job at his ninth college this year to serve as the offensive line coach and running game coordinator for Minnesota.
The Warinners moved to central Ohio in 2012 after Ed become the co-offensive coordinator at Ohio State. Edward, the youngest of three children, was in seventh grade.
Before that, the family, which also includes mother Mary Beth Warinner and two older sisters, spent time moving throughout the country as Ed moved up the coaching ranks.
“(The traveling is) something that goes with the business,” Edward said. “It’s always fun, and I have friends all over the country.”
Ed, a former Mount Union quarterback and running back, coached at Akron and Michigan State before Edward was born, spent 13 years at Army, was at Air Force from 2000-02 and then had tenures at Illinois, Kansas and Notre Dame before coming to Ohio State.
Edward, who was born in New York and has received pointers from former Ohio State assistant and current Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell, has blossomed into one of central Ohio’s best players the last three years.
On April 12, the three-star recruit announced his commitment to Michigan State. He also had offers from Central Florida, Cincinnati, Rutgers, West Virginia and most of the Mid-American Conference.
The 6-foot-1, 225-pounder is one of six central Ohio players from the 2018 class to commit to the Spartans.
“With the way my body grew and the way I trained, I realized I wanted to be a linebacker, that it was probably what I’d have a lot of success with in high school and college, so it just kind of came naturally after that,” Edward said. “It’s fun because linebackers do it all. You have to play the run and you also have to play the pass. I think it’s the best position on the defense.”
Edward had a tough decision regarding whether to stay in central Ohio after his father moved to Minnesota in January.
Ultimately he believed closing his prep career at Liberty would be the best choice.
The Patriots lost to Huber Heights Wayne 17-0 on Sept. 1 to fall to 1-1 and play Friday, Sept. 8, at Marysville before facing back-to-back 2016 playoff teams, Hilliard Davidson on Sept. 15 and Pickerington North on Sept. 22.
Marysville beat Delaware 35-0 on Sept. 1 to improve to 1-1.
“I did go up and look at a high school (in Minnesota) and I shadowed it for a day and got to know people there, but since I’m going to early enroll in college, I remember I just told my mom that it’s not worth it for me for six months,” Edward said. “I’d rather just stay here. (The friendships here) are a part of it, and just learning to go to a new football team and learn a new system before I go to college would have been kind of demanding.
“I think we have a chance to be really good. I think we’re a little slept on and I think this team has a lot to prove. We’re a tight-knit group and we’re also really talented. I think we have a chance to have a really good season.”
The decision thrilled Liberty coach Steve Hale considering how important of a role Edward plays on defense.
After the injury robbed him of the biggest games of last season, he’s off to a strong start this year.
He saw some time on offense as a freshman but started at middle linebacker the past two seasons. After he got hurt last year, Skylar Wahlund moved to middle linebacker and has stayed at that position, with Edward moving to strong-side linebacker.
“He really missed not playing (at the end of last season), and it was exciting for him to get back out on the field,” Hale said. “He did well and he’s in good shape. He’s fast, very athletic and really physical. He has a great knowledge of the game. We’re very happy and pleased that he’s been able to spend the rest of his time (in high school) here.”