Fordham's Chase Edmonds has encountered no problems taking his game from Central Dauphin East High School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Jack Coffey Field in the Bronx.
In Week 1, he ran for 181 yards, a school record for a freshman. In Week 3, he ran for 231 yards, breaking his own record. He followed that up with 174 yards the following week, 142 the next and back up to 187 in Week 6.
On Saturday, in Fordham's 60-22 win over Penn in front of 3,081 at Rose Hill, Edmonds rushed for 101 yards, putting him over 1,000 yards in just seven games. He's the first freshman in school history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season.
"I came in ambitious," Edmonds said after Saturday's game. "I came 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."
Edmonds has already been named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week five times this season. He's first in the league and second in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in rushing yards with 1,011, and he's scored 11 touchdowns.
Edmonds' coach, Joe Moorhead, has been impressed with the rookie from day one.
"From the second he stepped foot on campus for summer workouts he's conducted himself like a fifth-year senior," Moorhead said after the Rams' win over St. Francis to open the season. "His approach to the game, his practice habits, his workout habits, his study habits—he treats the game with the respect it deserves and practices as hard as he plays. ... You don't have to be a senior to lead. He doesn't say two words, but he leads by example."
Moorhead added to his praise of Edmonds following the victory over Penn, the sixth win for Fordham this season.
"Guys that can combine the athletic ability and football skills that he has with the intangibles, the work ethic and the practice [and] preparation...everything he's gotten he's earned," Moorhead said. "He's done a fantastic job with his preparation. He does a great job at practice; [he] practices hard. When it comes to games, it's not a surprise why he's having the success he's [had]."
Forget about comparing him to freshmen—Edmonds is one of the top offensive players in the FCS. Last week, he was named to the Rice Award Watch List, an honor given to the top first-year player in the FCS.
Losing Carlton Koonce (1,462 rushing yards last season) to graduation meant that one of the few holes the Rams had to fill was at running back. Ironic, then, that on a team with so many returning starters, Edmonds would be one of its offensive stars.
"He's huge for me personally, for this offensive unit and for the team," said quarterback Mike Nebrich, who threw for a school-record 566 yards and tied a school record with six touchdown passes Saturday. "The guys watch how hard he works in practice. You can lead as a freshman, and I think Chase has proven that with his work ethic.
"Offensively, he's a big part of why we're doing what we're doing. When you have a guy like him who's running for 100 yards a game, it really opens up the defense. It creates a lot of one-on-one matchups, and with the guys we have at wideout, that's usually a favorable matchup for us."
While Edmonds has quickly become a household name around campus, talk to anyone inside the program, and to Edmonds himself, and it's obvious that this is the same old Chase.
"One thing I've learned [is] not to read your press clippings," Edmonds said. "I understand why Coach Moorhead talks about [that] a lot. When you have all these people telling you you're going to be so successful, it's much easier said than done. You really have to focus on the process. You have to take it practice by practice, game by game and so on."
Quotations in this article were obtained firsthand.