Lost in all the (quite understandable) press coverage of signing day and the entire recruiting process leading up to it is that University of Maryland have a new player who’s much more likely to see the field at the beginning of the 2016 season than any individual true freshman recruit. His name is Trey Edmunds.
Edmunds was originally a 4-star recruit for the Virginia Tech Hokies at running back, turning down offers from Maryland (Everyone makes mistakes), North Carolina, Oregon, Penn State (Good call turning that one down), Tennessee, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and West Virginia according to rivals.com.
He took his 6’2″ frame and added almost 20 pounds of muscle over the years.
His college career at Tech got off to a nice start in 2013, averaging 4.1 yards a carry.
Here he is reeling off his first career touchdown against #1 ranked Alabama:
With 2014, his sophomore year, came an increase from that 4.1 yards a carry average his freshman year, to an even more impressive 4.6 yards a carry. However, unlike in his freshman year, where that statistic is based on 166 total carries, his sophomore stat comes from only 21 attempts, which is roughly a single game’s worth of carries. As a junior, he got less than 50 attempts.
So, here we had a player who was highly rated out of high school and who displayed some great potential and had some amount of success as a freshman, who barely saw the field the next two years.
Well, first a broken tibia happened.
Then, a pair of freshman stole his job, prompting a site called Gobbler Country to declare him a man without a country, and if Gobbler Country is the code for Virginia Tech, and that’s the country they’re talking about, maybe it’s true that he was a man without *a* particular country.
However, he never lost his job on the field. He lost it while he was off the field.
We don’t know, of course, what happened at closed Hokies practices, but we know the man has talent, and we know he has been productive when he’s actually gotten into game situations.
In fact, the talent is literally in his blood. His father, Farrell Edmunds, is a Maryland Terrapins legend who went on to play for the Miami Dolphins, and his brothers Tremaine and Terrell are both current Virginia Hokies.
Having lost Brandon Ross to graduation, and Wes Brown to a suspension that may close out his Terrapins career, the Terps were looking for leadership at the tailback position, and should get it thanks to Edmonds’ senior transfer to the University of Maryland after graduating from Tech.
Of course, he won’t be without competition at Maryland. Sophomore Ty Johnson returns, and the Terps have three freshman running backs who’ve signed letters of intent, including local Damascus, MD sensation Jake Funk, who scored over 50 touchdowns in his senior year of high school. That’s not a typo, over 50 touchdowns in one season.
Obviously, high school competition is high school competition (i.e. not necessarily indicative of future success), and Funk grades out below Maryland’s other two 2016 freshman commits at his position (All three stars, but there are percentiles even within those broad categories), as well as below Edmunds’ 4 star rating from when first came out of high school (Ty Johnson was a 3-star athlete coming out of high school). However, 50+ touchdowns is 50+ touchdowns- I don’t care if you’re playing in a beer league, that’s extremely impressive.
Funk is considered a little slow for the next level, and he’s going to need to add some muscle to hold up as the downhill runner he projects as, but he’s got a great weightroom at College Park, a great coaching staff, and of course Trey Edmonds, who added weight of his own to compete in college, as a potential mentor.
It’s good bet that Edmunds will see the field next year. He could be the starter. He could just be a situational or a change of pace back. But he’s very likely to get significant carries. And his senior leadership and his background growing up around the game will be significant for the Terrapins.
With four four-star offensive linemen who are really big fellows, and some questions at the quarterback position, if I were new Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell, I’d be tempted to line up in the Power-I and let the linemen create holes for the running backs to churn through. As the running backs rotate in and out grinding out yards, it’d keep the opposing offenses off the field, giving them fewer chances to score, and the opposing defenses on the field (Wearing them down so 2-4 yard gains become 5, 10, 20 yard gains and beyond by the 4th quarter).
Walt Bell from all indications isn’t going to do that. He’s got an uptempo style of offense that likes to keep things moving. While that’s not my style, it’s an exciting style that worked well for him at Arkansas State, and, unlike many coordinators who go uptempo, Bell isn’t afraid to run the ball when the situation or personnel dictates it. He may not like eating time off the clock, but he doesn’t wind running some plays out of the pro set or even a three-wide with a run-blocking offensive line scheme, and handing the ball off. His running backs do get carries.
Trey Edmunds is eager to show Walt Bell and the rest of the Big Ten that Virginia Tech made a mistake when they didn’t give him a chance to regain his starting position after he was injured.
Maryland head coach DJ Durkin says everything’s a competition and the best players will play.
Ring the bell. The competition begins with spring practice. Edmunds will be ready to go.