Humble Beginnings Bring Success for Edmonds


Chase Edmonds, Fordham’s starting running back, is one of the best in the Football Championship Division. (ERIC DEARBORN/COURTESY OF FORDHAM SPORTS)


Try to flash back in time and think of those days you played sports – those days when you were asked about your career goal, and you answered “athlete.” Many of us used to play sports in high school, but few are fortunate enough to play at the collegiate level. One of these young individuals is Fordham University’s Chase Edmonds, Fordham College at Rose Hill 2018.

Edmonds grew up roughly 100 miles northwest of the city of brotherly love, in Pennsylvania’s capital city, Harrisburg. He is a graduate of Central Dauphin East High School, where he played both basketball and football. But football was his natural inclination, he justifies saying, “[It] provides inspiration and its physicality is motivating.”

He seemed to have checked off every award on a high school running back’s bucket list, having been named MVP of the 2014 Big 33 Game, a consensus First Team All-State selection, Mid-Penn Player of the Year and First Team All-Mid Penn selection. He shattered the record books as a senior, when he accumulated a total of 2,378 yards and 25 touchdowns.  It was at this point when he faced the harsh reality of many schools overlooking his talent because of his 5-foot-9 frame. “I felt disrespected and under-recruited,” he said. While Albany, Colgate, Delaware and Lafayette all offered Edmonds an opportunity to continue his football career in college, they all were hesitant. Fordham was the first team to make him an offer and the rest has been history.

“I try to work as hard as I can. But, the coaches at Fordham really believed in me. I enjoyed the spread offense scheme that Coach Moorhead and his staff have implemented” and indeed, it has created an opportunity for Edmonds to flourish as a starting running back. His humility is something that one can’t find everywhere today, and he accentuated this with his faith: “It’s such a blessing. I give glory to God.”

The Harrisburg native started off his freshman season as a backup, but was quickly named a starter and emerged as one of the top running backs in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), ultimately leading the team to a Patriot League Championship. In fact, in Fordham’s first game of the 2014 season, he didn’t start, yet came off the bench hauling the Rams’ offense with his 300 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. He enjoyed one of the most successful seasons as a Fordham freshman in the school’s history. He was the recipient of the 2014 Jerry Rice Award as the top NCAA FCS rookie, was named a consensus All-American, 2014 Patriot League and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Rookie of the Year, and even named to the 2014 Patriot League Commissioner’s Honor Roll. Edmonds stamped the record books as the first Fordham freshman to have rushed 1,000 yards in a season, in addition to setting the school’s single season rushing touchdown record.

“Deuce-deuce” as his teammates call him since he’s no. 22, emphasized the brotherhood that exists within the locker room. “All of us get along very well. We are brothers. You will never see one of us walking alone,” Edmonds said. The camaraderie that the players share extends onto the field, which is one of the main reasons for the Rams’ success. “We all share a great chemistry,” and having junior quarterback Kevin Anderson as the face of the offense is a big plus. “I just couldn’t be any happier with having a guy like Kevin. He’s one of those guys you can count on,” Edmonds, of his fellow teammate and roommate, said.   

Chase Edmonds is not a one-man show, crediting his success to his team’s collective effort. While Anderson may call the plays, having strong defensive anchors in Niko Thorpe, Jihaad Pretlow, Stephen Hodge and Lourenzo Smith, among others, helps maintain Fordham’s presence. The Fordham offense, led by Anderson, and supported by receivers such as Phazahn Odom, Robbie Cantelli, Jonathan Lumley, Austin Longi, Corey Caddle and Mr. 22 himself, creates a matchup nightmare for any opponent.

After the Rams lost in the second round of the FCS Championships last season to New Hampshire, Edmonds was determined to improve in every shape and form. You might ask, “How can a reigning Jerry Rice Player of the Year improve?” Edmonds’ answer: in many ways. Edmonds expressed this with, “I continued to lift weights and conditioned myself. I gained 11 pounds and focused on eating right. These little things go a long way.” He is a player whose work ethic can’t be defined by one word, but by many. “I always believe I can improve. I want to be the best. I don’t settle for mediocrity.” He hopes to one day be playing Sunday Night Football in the NFL, instead of being a spectator.

It was this mindset that Edmonds carried with himself into his sophomore season, with the hopes of leading a team to a second consecutive Patriot League Championship and even vying for an FCS Championship. He understands that success doesn’t happen overnight, especially with a team that features 18 new starters and a roster consisting of 30 freshmen. “Last year, we all looked up to the seniors. But this season, we’re a much younger team. It’s us against the world,” he said. Edmonds affirmed that inexperience can’t be used as an excuse and that success is a process. “You have to take things one step at a time.”

Edmonds was very optimistic, however. He believes that having a bye week at the end of the regular season will be crucial in helping the team prepare for a long run in the FCS Championships. The sophomore running back knows that there’s a lot of football to be played until December comes. Until then, he’s focused on the present. “One day at a time, one game a time,” was his recurring theme throughout the interview. He finished off with, “Fordham football aspires to be great.” Coach Moorhead has produced the winningest team in the New York City area since 2012