By Jack McLoone
With just one game left in his Fordham Football career, senior running back Chase Edmonds has certainly left his mark. He will end his career with the Fordham records for single-season rushing yards, single-season rushing touchdowns, career rushing yards and both the career rushing and total touchdown records. He also recently broke the records for career rushing and all-purpose yards in the Patriot League. However, he has dealt with an ankle injury for most of the season, limiting his playing time in his senior season, and the team has suffered accordingly with just a 3-7 record with one game to go. Edmonds sat down with The Fordham Ram to discuss his illustrious career.
TFR: What was your recruiting process like?
CE: Going into my senior year, in the summer, was when I first received my offer from Fordham. That was my first offer. It was about mid-July. At that time, I was still really, really under-recruited, under-the-radar type of guy. I got my first offer from Fordham. I went to a couple college camps, then I received a little bit more. I got ones from Delaware, Villanova, Albany, a lot of the Patriot League schools. I committed to Fordham October-ish, I think. During my senior year, I had a really good season. I ran for 2,300 [yards]. So, I started to get like Temple schools coming at me late, and my big thing was that I wanted to go play FBS. So, I de-committed from Fordham just to step back for a little bit. But then, I ended up realizing that that was a school that really believed in me, stayed loyal to me, so I stayed loyal to them and that’s really how I ended up at Fordham, once it was all said in done.
TFR: Was that the one specific thing that got you to Fordham, just that loyalty?
CE: Yeah, just that loyalty, because I felt really like I was always overlooked, and Fordham called me and they were the first school to offer me. And the first school to offer me off of film. Most schools wanted to see me in person because I lacked a little speed on my film, but they believed in me. That’s what drew me to them.
TFR: Do you use those other schools writing you off as motivation?
CE: 100 percent, bro. I still use it to this day. Just realizing and looking back on the schools saying I wouldn’t be this, I wouldn’t be that or just had certain knocks on me. It’s just another chip on my shoulder.
TFR: Do you remember what your first practice here was like?
CE: I do, actually. Camp, our first practice. It was super fast, man. I remember the older guys telling us that it was going to be a little fast, a little shocker to us. But I remember going out there and my mind was just scrambling. I didn’t know what to do ‘cause we were always going warp, the calls are to the sideline, you have to look, process the call and you’re gone, just like that. I loved it. I felt like it was an environment where it was either sink or swim, and I love those types of environments where either you’re going to rise to the occasion and seize the opportunity or you’re going to sink and really kinda fail that job. That first practice, it was unbelievable for me just because I felt – I wasn’t uncomfortable, I felt like it was a little faster than I was used to, but I got adjusted to the speed of the game very quickly.
TFR: At what point did you feel like you figured it out, that you figured out you were going to fit?
CE: After our first scrimmage. I had a really good day, I ran for two touchdowns I think and we were going live. I realized that I could break those guys’ tackles at this level just like I could break the tackles at my high school level. So that’s when I felt like, you know, I should do pretty well here.
TFR: So, you go on to have a very good freshman year. What was it like to win the Jerry Rice Award (given to the best FCS rookie)?
CE: Such a blessing. I remember, when I won that award, it was really eye-opening to me that my talent was legit and that I just had to continue to work hard and do what I was doing and just stay on the path if I really wanted to play in the NFL someday. I felt like this is showing me that I do have the talent, at least, to be one of the higher guys at the FCS level; let’s see if I can work on that and build on that and continue to grow and develop.
TFR: Then your sophomore year, you have another good year, you guys win the Patriot League. And then [former head coach] Joe Moorhead leaves. What led to you staying here at Fordham?
CE: I would say the hiring of Coach [Andrew] Breiner, because I was still close to Coach and he was my recruiting coach coming out. I think, when Coach Moorhead left, if it wasn’t to Penn State I would have left because I was still caught up on FBS and probably to see if he could take me with him. I think just staying here with the guys, especially [quarterback] Kevin [Anderson], I had developed a really good, close relationship with Kevin at that time, and other guys like [defensive back] Caleb Ham. Just building on what we had, all the success that we had, it was something to me like, well, we got a lot of the pieces back. We did lose our head coach, but Coach Breiner knows the system, he was the [offensive coordinator], so we should be alright.
TFR: You just mentioned Kevin. Can you describe your relationship with him a little bit?
CE: He’s my best friend, man. I remember the first time I saw him, I called him “Sunshine.” I didn’t even know who he was, just because he had the long hair and he just reminded me of the guy from Remember the Titans. But he’s such a great guy. He’s honest to me all the time, always caring. He has a great time with my daughter, he has a great relationship with Avery, so we’re just like white on rice. I’m always with Kev.
TFR: What kind of motivation is Avery? Anyone who follows you on any social media knows about Avery.
CE: It’s a great blessing just to have a daughter, to have somebody where no matter how bad of a day I’m having, when I see Avery, it’s like your day turns upside down. It’s at least something to keep my mind off of what kind of day I’m having. So, like, I remember we lost to Lehigh my junior year, last year. Got beat pretty bad, and I just got to see Avery and it took my mind off of it. It puts life into perspective, that it’s not always about football or always about what’s going on around your life. You know, you have somebody else who’s really looking up to you, somebody else who is depending on you, where the choices you have to make affects their life.
TFR: Coming into this season, there were a lot of expectations on you. How did you deal with that mentally?
CE: Ignore the noise, like I’ve always done. Yeah, I see some of the stuff, the accolades or whatever they’re talking about. Just try and ignore the noise and focus on what I have to do.
TFR: You’ve been injured a lot this year, more than you have ever before. How tough has it been dealing with that?
CE: It’s been really tough, but I believe everything happens for a reason. I’ve definitely learned from this year, just the adversity that I’ve had to face, especially with the injuries and just the tough times. I know tough times don’t last, tough people do. Just got to take it swing by swing and weather the storm.
TFR: With you being hurt this year, a couple of young guys have had to step up in freshman Zach Davis and sophomore D’Angelo Palladino. How have you kind of molded them? What kind of leader have you been to those guys?
CE: I wasn’t really the type to lead vocally. I just kind of liked to lead with my presence on the field. But this year, since I was always sidelined, I just really tried to help those guys in terms of their eyes. You know, what they were reading, what they were seeing, trying to show them how certain plays would develop. How they needed to be more patient with certain plays. It’s been great for me because I’ve gotten to really sit on the side and watch them grow and watch them progress and, you know, do whatever I can to help them progress.
TFR: So, you come in with all these expectations, like I said, but things don’t really work out. But you do end up breaking the Patriot League career rushing yards record and all-purpose yards record. What was that like?
CE: It was still great. Obviously, my eyes were set on something greater at the start of the season, but one thing, again, that I’ve learned is that you’ve got to experience struggles to truly appreciate your success. I finally experienced one of my struggles this year, just not being able to be on the field. So when I broke that Patriot League record, even though that’s not what my eyes were envisioned on at the start of the season – I was focused on the all-time [FCS] record – I’ts something where I learned to appreciate it way more. It was still such a blessing for me to break that record and to break a record and realize that, wow man, even though I’ve had a down year in my eyes, I still had a great career.
TFR: What was it like getting that record at the end of the quarter and getting that time to talk to your teammates?
CE: Yeah, you know, it was cool. I just tried to make sure – obviously I knew guys were going to congratulate me – but I just tried to keep the team kind of focused on the game and I didn’t want it to be about me. I just wanted to try and get the win.
TFR: Do you have one specific memory at Fordham that sticks out to you as something you’re going to hold on to moving forward?
CE: I’ll say sophomore year, when we beat Army the first game. All odds were against us, we lost like 17 starters the previous year and nobody gave us a shot. We just went out there, we were all we had and we knew the work that we put in, we knew that we had the confidence that we could beat Army, but it was just a matter of executing. I’ll never forget at the end of the game, taking that knee and hugging Kevin before the clock hit zero, just knowing that we beat Army and all the hard work paid off.
TFR: How important is the chemistry of this team to how well you guys do?
CE: I think the chemistry’s extremely important in any college football environment. I think that the closer your team is, the better chance you always have of winning the game just because, at the end of the day, man, football comes down to who has harder will to win the football game. When you have a guy next to you who you consider your brother, and it’s just like, “Alright, I’ll do anything to protect this man. I’ll to anything to fight for this man,” it just makes you play harder as a team. And, you know, that stuff just it coexists and everybody feeds off each other’s energy.
TFR: The way we usually wrap this up is with “What are your post-Fordham plans?” We kind of know what you’re hoping to do, so how has the process been, figuring out where you’re going with the NFL?
CE: The process has been great. This past summer, it was really, really great. I was really hot, a hot commodity, had a lot of guys calling me and everything, telling me how good I am, yadda yadda yadda. And now it’s kind of slowed down because of injury but, like I said, everything happens for a reason. I personally like being the underdog. I feel like I work my hardest when I am the underdog. It just feels like me against the world again. I kind of have that mentality where, it is like my freshman year where I came in, I wasn’t worried about no one else’s business but my own on the football field. And that’s where my mindset is right now. I got about a month and a half left and then my plans are to, once the season’s over and everything slows down, to sign an agent, immediately start training, wherever that may be, and just work my butt off, man, and hope for the best. I’m extremely excited to finally get to chase this dream. It’s been a long time coming for me. I’m just appreciative that I have the opportunity to play football at the next level.
TFR: Is there something you would want to say to people looking at you who are maybe looking at you less because of these injuries this year?
CE: I don’t want to say nothing really right now. Just that I think, to me, time will tell. The cream will rise to the top. I think once I get my opportunity, whoever it is – I don’t need all 32 teams to call, just one to believe in Chase, just like there was only one team that believed in Chase coming out of high school. And I’ll seize the opportunity when it comes.
TFR: Have you talked to Jihaad [Pretlow, signed as an undrafted free agent by the 49ers coming into this season] or Garrick [Mayweather, who attended training camp with the Chiefs two years ago] at all about their experiences?
CE: Yeah, I talked to Garrick a bit. I talked to Phazan [Odom] as well, cause Phazan was on the Pittsburgh Steelers for a while [he attended training camp this offseason]. I got a couple friends who play in the NFL. So, like Noah Spence, who plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he’s a d-end there. A guy I work out with back home, Danny Lansanah, played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two years ago. And, you know, it’s just highs and lows in the NFL, man. You’ve got to weather the storm and sieze your opportunity. That’s what it’s really about. Once you seize your opportunity, you get another call and just keep building on that and building on that. I know that I’ve got to do certain things to obviously set me aside from other guys cause I’m a little unappreciated and I’m under-the-radar, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes.