With the college football season in the books, our attention is now on the All-Star circuit. The East-West Shrine game was played on January 20th in Jacksonville, Florida. Household names were absent as the rosters tend to focus on smaller schools. However, the game still has NFL prospects each season and deserves our attention. Previous alumni include this year’s breakout WR, Robby Anderson, along with other relevant players like Elijah McGuire, Allen Hurns, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Alfred Morris.
One intriguing player who tweaked his ankle in practice and sadly could not participate this year was Chase Edmonds.
Chase Edmonds is a senior running back from Fordham University. If you haven’t heard of Fordham, that’s not a surprise as they play in the Patriot League in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). He was a three-star prospect from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in the class of 2014. At Central Dauphin East High School, he rushed for almost 2,000 yards as a senior and scored 25 career touchdowns. That propelled him to First-Team All-Mid Pennsylvania and All-Mid Pennsylvania Player of the Year. A First-Team All-State selection, he was also named the MVP of the 2014 Big 33 All-Star game. He picked up offers from Albany, Colgate, Delaware, and Lafayette before signing with Fordham.
Edmonds wasted no time getting on the field at Fordham, carrying the ball 19 times for 181 yards and two TDs in his first game. That performance set the tone for the remainder of the season as he dominated the backfield, setting Fordham records in the process. Edmonds finished his amazing 2014 fourth in the FCS in rushing yards (1,838) and second in rushing TDs (23). That breakout performance earned him the Jerry Rice Award as the NCAA FCS Rookie of the Year.
As a sophomore, his production was similar despite playing in two fewer games. However, Edmonds made a big jump from 19 to 31 receptions and more than tripled his yardage. His five receiving TDs accounted for 15 percent of the team total, and he finished fifth in receiving yards. His junior year was punctuated by Patriot League record 359 rushing yards and four TDs on only 17 carries versus Lafayette. Edmonds was named to the Second Team AP All-American Team in 2015, Patriot League Player of the Year, and a consensus First-Team All-American in 2016.
Edmonds was chasing history coming into the 2017 season. He trailed former Georgia Southern running back Adrian Peterson by 1,274 for the all-time rushing yards record in the FCS. Edmonds played every game of his college career for his first three seasons but ankle and hamstring injuries forced him off the field for the first time, reducing his senior year to just six games. While that prevented him from breaking the record, Edmonds’ career when viewed through the lens of college RB dominator is still impressive.
Removing quarterback rushing, games missed or left early due to injury, and those decided by more than 28 points yields a 27-game sample over his career. In each season, including a down 2017, Edmonds eclipsed a dominator rating of 40. His incredible 2015 season shows what Edmonds is capable of, posting a dominator rating of .55. On any level, those are excellent numbers and shows how consistently productive Edmonds was over the course of his career.
NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS
Edmonds career production shows he can be a force both rushing and receiving. He also made an impact on special teams, averaging over 20 yards per kickoff return as a freshman. Ahead of Shrine Game practices, Edmonds officially measured 5-foot-8 and 203 pounds. While no bruiser, he shares a similar build with Gio Bernard and Ameer Abdullah. Unlike those second-round picks, Edmonds figures to be in the mix on Day 3 of the NFL draft.
Video: Fordham RB Chase Edmonds has shown a nice burst in first practice at Shrine Game. pic.twitter.com/VhShB4lE1U— Greg Auman (@gregauman) January 15, 2018
After an impressive practice Monday, Edmonds stepped on another player’s foot Tuesday and turned his left ankle. That’s the same ankle he injured during the season. The injury kept him out of the Shrine Game but will not keep him from the eyes of NFL scouts. He received a combine invite and will work out with the other running backs on March 2nd in Indianapolis.
Can he be this year’s FCS RB that makes an impact a la Tarik Cohen? I think that’s within the realm of possibilities, though I hope he’s not limited to a change-of-pace role as he outweighs Cohen by more than 20 pounds. If he runs the forty in the 4.4-second range, I could see Edmonds’ stock rising from its current sixth- or seventh-round projection.