[one_half]North Dakota State DE Kyle Emanuel wins the Buck Buchanan Award as the FCS Defensive Player of the Year
[one_half_last]New Hampshire Head Coach Sean McDonnell wins the Eddie Robinson Award as the FCS Coach of the Year
Fordham running back Chase Edmonds ran away with the vote for the Jerry Rice Award as the most outstanding freshman in the FCS, kind of like how he ran away from defenses all season. The freshman running back from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania finished third in the FCS in rushing yards this season with 1,838 and tied for second in rushing touchdowns with 23. Hard to believe the 5-foot-9, 185-pound speedster has only been out of high school for about six months.
In an interview with Bleacher Report writer Charles Costello (@CFCostello on Twitter) after Edmonds became the first Fordham freshman to rush for over 1,000 yards, in week seven btw, Edmonds said, “I came in ambitious. I came in here with the mindset to compete for the starting spot. Whether 1,000 yards was my goal, I just wanted to contribute to the team as best I could. Anything positive that I get I just take as a blessing.”
Turns out 1,000 yards wasn’t a realistic goal after all — 2,000 would have been closer to the mark.
Check out the highlights from Edmonds’ first collegiate game against St. Francis.
He set the Fordham freshman single-game record for rushing yards with 181 that day. He also scored two touchdowns in the 52-23 win. His new record didn’t last long though. He broke it just two weeks later against Rhode Island with 231 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries.
On top of his rushing prowess, Edmonds returns kicks. He amassed 514 yards on 24 kickoff returns this season (average of 21.4), which brings his all-purpose yardage total to a Fordham and Patriot league record 2,473 yards. He set the Fordham and Patriot League single-game all-purpose yardage record with 385 in a loss to New Hampshire. That total includes a 91-yard touchdown, part of 208 rushing yards, and 164 kickoff return yards. Even in a loss, the kid was unstoppable.
Coming into this season, the starting running back position was up in the air. Last season’s leading rusher, Carlton Koonce, graduated last offseason and took his 1,462 yards and nine touchdowns with him. No disrespect to Koonce, who actually finished ninth in the FCS in rushing yards last year, but there aren’t too many who around the Bronx who pine for the way things were. Not with Edmonds around.
The only FCS running backs who outpaced Edmonds this season were Illinois State junior Marshaun Coprich with 2,089 yards and 26 TDs and South Dakota State senior Zach Zenner with 2,019 yards and 22 touchdowns. However, Coprich needed 330 carries to amass his 2,089 yards (6.33 ypc) and Zenner needed 337 carries for his total (5.99 ypc) — Edmonds gained his 1,838 yards on just 294 carries (6.25 ypc). The FCS freshman running back with the second most rushing yards was Alex Lakes from Mercer, who finished with 1,107 yards and 17 TDs.
With Fordham’s two-year starting quarterback, and two-time Patriot League Player of the Year Mike Nebrich graduating this offseason, Edmonds will have to carry even more of the load in his sophomore season, at least at the beginning of the year. Something tells me he’ll be ready.