The BEST player FEW are talking about
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Introduced to me a month or two ago by our very own John Vogel (@johndavogel), I immediately became a massive fan of this prospect. Small school athletes tend to get the back seat from many up and coming scouts for the many issues that come with their game. After weeks of searching through highlight videos and miscellaneous clips found across the internet, I am confident that my gut was correct. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you the best player few are talking about…
Earnest Edwards IV ~ Wide Receiver ~ Maine Black Bears
Edwards was a 5 foot 10 inch, 170 pound, unranked recruit from the 2016 class per rivals.com. Hailing from Rochester, New York and attending Aquinas Institute in Rochester Edwards played football and basketball. While in school, Edwards was the New York State Class AA Football Champion in 2013 and 2015 as well as Co-Player of the Year in 2015. Along with those major accolades, he accumulated two first-team-All-Greater Rochester mentions, one first team all-state mention, and the MVP of the State Championship scoring four touchdowns in that game. He received offers from Delaware, UMass, Wagner and Maine, choosing to attend the latter.
Numerous accolades were given to Edwards, most notably his two All-CAA first team kick return specialist in 2017 and 2018 and his All-CAA second team wide receiver in 2018 mentions.
His career stats are as followed: (40 Career Appearances)
Receiving: 125 receptions for 2,370 yards and 23 touchdowns
Rushing: 59 touches for 438 yards and 2 touchdowns
Kick Return: 83 attempts for 2,046 yards and 4 touchdowns
Misc: 6 of 7 passing attempts for 74 yards and 5 touchdowns
Lead up to draft day
Attending his Pro-Day back home in Rochester he was able to rack up these numbers…
4.41 40 yard dash (hammy pulled up on the second run)
14 bench press reps
35.5 inch vertical jump
9.9 foot broad jump
As well as proving his athleticism, we were given this gem…
“I always look up to Tyreek Hill, I feel like everything he can do, I can do; jets, running back, it don’t matter, running routes and getting open, all of it, I can do it all honestly.” (per spectrumlocalnews.com)
+ Ability (Near elite COD that is noticeable immediately, big play threat, smart blocker, solid ball skills)
+ Production (FCS Division 1, stats mentioned above are solid for his archetype of player)
+ Off-field character (Humble, confident, enthusiastic)
+ On-field character (Tenacious, team player, great motor and energy)
+ Versatility (Return specialist, receiver, back field ability and threw some absolute DIMES as well during his time at Maine)
-Size (5’10 and in the 175 pound range is worrisome durability wise)
-Suffers from the small school knock (lack of film for true evaluation and the next con)
-Level of competition (offsets the production and some may question his translation to the next level)
-Rawness (coming from a small school his technical skills were not on full show and his true receiver traits are unknown at this point)
I cannot say enough good things about this kid and its hard to dislike him. My pro comparison for Edwards is a mix of (Carolina) Steve Smith and as he mentioned, Tyreek Hill. High praise, I know, but he is absolutely deserving of it. He is electric, has beautiful, natural change of direction and absolutely flies around the field. With that being said, Edwards falls as a late day two-early day three prospect for me (3rd-5th round).
The small school situation is a tough one, but, the way I view those prospects is if they have the traits that I believe will carry over. For example, his contested catch ability was limitedly shown in the film available BUT he has exhibited the tenacity and effort that proves to me he can make plays at the next level. His ceiling is questionable but there very well could be a Hill type role built for him the the future with the right development in place. His floor is extremely high as an impact special teamer that will find a home on any roster for years to come. My best case scenario for Edwards would to go to a team, contribute as a 5th or 6th receiver on the depth chart and bring an impact day one as a gadget player and returner. Edwards has a place on any NFL team and I truly believe given time to develop the intricacies of the wide receiver position, he can turn in something more than just a return specialist.
I welcome you to enjoy the following videos and join the Earnest Edwards Hype Train!