•  Register
11

Edwards' Appalachian Climb

by Tim Rohan on Mar. 11, 2010
On September 1, 2007 Armanti Edwards’s life changed.

He admits today that the game probably opened some people’s eyes to what he can do on the football field. His performance in Appalachian State’s upset win over then-No. 5 Michigan in the Big House launched Edwards onto the national spotlight.

Three seasons later, Edwards graduated with two Division I FCS national championships in his freshman and sophomore seasons.

The diminutive quarterback was a dual threat under center and carved the Wolverines up for 227 yards passing, 62 yards rushing and four total touchdowns.

Edwards put the Mountaineers on the map, and finished his career with more than 10,000 passing yards, more than 4,000 rushing yards, 74 touchdowns and 33 interceptions.

He came back down to earth his junior and senior years though. He didn't top the 1,000 yard mark for rushing yards but his passing was more on display.

Even with those numbers, the first question about Edwards’ ability to play at the NFL level is his height. At just 5-foot-10 inches tall, Edwards is a few inches shorter than Drew Brees, who is considered the exception to the rule that quarterbacks have to be tall.

Yet Edwards completed 65 percent of his passes at Appalachian State. And he said that NFL teams were telling him that they wanted him at quarterback.

“A couple of teams told me they don’t know where to put me,” Edwards said. “I guess it depends on how well I do in the quarterback (drills).”

Out of high school, Edwards was recruited by division I schools like Clemson, Memphis and Vanderbilt to play wide receiver or defensive back. But he knew he wanted to play quarterback and the Mountaineers gave him that opportunity.

With his speed and quickness and having come from a smaller school, Edwards is drawing comparisons to the likes of Joshua Cribbs of the Cleveland Browns and Antwaan Randle El of the Washington Redskins. Cribbs was a quarterback at Bowling Green and Randle El was a quarterback at Indiana. Each was a dual threat guy, just like Edwards.

Those two college quarterbacks have been relegated to being wide receivers and return specialists in the NFL. Cribbs has flourished as a return man though making a few pro bowls and breaking the all-time record for career kickoff return touchdowns. Randle El has been quiet since winning a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh, but he did throw a touchdown pass in that Super Bowl with the Steelers.

The precedent has been set.

“If you really love the game, you’ll play any position the coach wants you to,” Edwards said.

The emergence of the Wildcat could also give him another opportunity to play.
Ironically, Edwards won’t be able to run the forty-yard dash at the combine because he strained his right hamstring running routes.

And at his pro day he’ll be working out as both a receiver and a quarterback. His speed will certainly be an asset teams will be coveting, and even though Edwards can’t run at the combine, he said he ran a 4.49 forty-yard dash while working out a few weeks ago.

That speed was on display when Edwards helped the Mountaineers knock off goliath in Ann Arbor his sophomore year. And that speed is what could help him make it to the NFL.