For a teenager who has given it all on the field, it’s enough to make you bang your head against the wall.
Fordham’s Chase Edmonds played his high school ball in Harrisburg, Pa.—about 50 miles from State College and Penn State, and a little less than 200 miles from Pittsburgh and Running Back U (Pitt). Maryland, Rutgers, you name it … they’re not that far from home.
Yet none of those schools seemed to pay much attention to his 2,400 yard, 25 TD season as a high school senior, nor his 1,500 yard, 15 TD effort as a junior. Nearly 4,000 yards of production in two years, and 40 TDs … and the crickets of recruiting mostly chirped when it came to the Power Five schools. Not big enough (5-9/195). Too slow. Really? Take a look at the video above and tell us what is lacking in the speed department.
Edmonds had offers though, mostly from the Patriot League. BR-21 Fordham’s coaching staff had the foresight to put Edmonds in the offensive backfield immediately–they saw what countless other evaluators said wasn’t there. Many schools saw him as a cornerback, not a running back.
“You know, that’s the funny thing about it,” Edmonds’ QB and roommate Kevin Anderson told HERO Sports. “They offered him at cornerback, and now he’s busting for over 200 yards on those same teams, running the corners flat over. On the field, he’s a man playing amongst boys.”
Though far from humble when he’s running the ball, Edmonds is the dictionary definition of it off the field. Don’t bother printing up T-shirts with “Division I’s Leading Rusher” plastered all over it. Edmonds will just ball up the shirt and hide it under the embarrassing pants he got from a relative for Christmas a few years back.
That’s right, Edmonds has rushed for more yards than LSU’s Leonard Fournette (1,393 yards to Fournette’s 1,352) and more touchdowns than Fournette (18 to 15). But Edmonds will be the last one to tell you that fact. In fact, he’s quite in touch with what is going on around the country and he respects his colleagues and competition. He’s very familiar with the stars of FCS and FBS football … and he’s also aware that things can change in one day.
“Just look at Vad (Lee) at James Madison and (John) Robertson at Villanova and Carson Wentz at North Dakota State,” Edmonds told HERO Sports. “Everything was going great for all of those guys and then just as fast as they had the spotlight on them, an injury happened. It’s sad. They were all playing so well. So I don’t take it for granted. That’s how I was raised—be humble and do not bring attention to yourself. Stay humble and hungry.”
That’s probably as big a challenge as busting up FCS defenses. Last year, Edmonds won the Jerry Rice Award, given to the top freshman in the FCS. That’s right … he’s only a sophomore. In only 22 college games going into the Colgate contest this weekend, Edmonds has rushed for more than 3,200 yards and 41 touchdowns, while also catching 42 passes for another 460 yards and 6 TDs. Could he be an 8,000-yard back in college? Could he score 100 or maybe 120 TDs in college?
It’s possible, but again … you won’t hear those predictions originating from his vocal chords.
“Chase is intrinsically motivated; he plays with a chip on his shoulder,” Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead told HERO Sports. “I truly believe he works to be the best player in the country and wants to play in the NFL … he possesses the most talent on the team and is also the hardest worker and leads by example more than vocally. But in the few instances he raises his voice, everyone listens.”
Speaking of raising his voice—there is one thing Edmonds will shout out to the sky: He absolutely loves what is happening with his team this year. Prior to the season there were doubts that a program that lost 18 starters from 2014 could compete, even with Edmonds returning. But this group has clicked. It is 7 points away from being 8-0—and most of the team is made up of underclassmen. Anderson has worked out great at QB after originally signing with Marshall, and the offensive line has been anchored by one of Fordham’s returning All Patriot League selections—Garrick Mayweather Jr.
“(Edmonds) makes everything so easy for me,” Mayweather told HERO Sports. “When you have so much confidence in your back, you can be a lot more aggressive. There’s the option for him to break it big every play.”
Fordham has a storied past in football, once routinely knocking off football giants—like Boston College, Pitt, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, even Alabama. Countless players from Fordham were once taken in the NFL Draft. While beating up on those giants may be a thing of the past because of the depth differences between FCS and FBS rosters now, being a consistent threat to win an FCS national title is a realistic goal based on how the program has played in recent years under Moorhead.
All of that will get Edmonds chattering.
“When I came back into this season, I instantly told myself that I’m going to be a leader,” Fordham said. “And we’ve had great play from our quarterback and our O-line and then making the playoffs wasn’t the only goal, it was to go far in the playoffs. The last two years we’ve gotten into the second round but we haven’t been able to get over that hump, so that’s something we really want to harp on. Hopefully if we finish our business in the last three games we’ll get the bye that first (playoff) weekend, and that’s something I think that can happen.”
Fordham will need that confidence and offensive production. The Rams produce 7 yards every time they snap the ball, so they’ve proven to be hard to stop. Edmonds sets that all up.
“There are times when Chase has nowhere to go, and he’ll pull a spin move and outrun people,” Anderson said. “Even if you stick extra defenders on him, you’re still not going to stop him.
“Trust me … I have the best view of anybody watching the game.”
Kind of makes you wonder if there are some FBS coaches who wish they had a time machine for recruiting, eh?