Today we’ll resume our 10 questions series with question #4, regarding r-freshman tailback Trey Edmunds .
How ready is Trey Edmunds ?
Virginia Tech’s leading rusher in 2012 was Logan Thomas, who ran for 524 yards. That’s the lowest amount of yards that VT’s leading rusher has gained since Ralph Brown ran for 514 yards in 1988. That was a long time ago.
J.C. Coleman (5-8, 183, So.) rushed for 492 yards in 2012, which was the best mark amongst Tech’s running backs. That’s the lowest mark set by Tech’s top running back since Terry Smoot ran for 356 yards in 1967. That’s really a long time ago.
Thus, the question: how ready is Trey Edmunds (6-1, 215, r-Fr.)? That shouldn’t be construed as an insult to J.C. Coleman at all. Coleman was only a true freshman a year ago, and he didn’t have much around him. He was in a tough situation. However, the question still stands. Trey Edmunds possesses the best combination of size, speed, strength and change of direction ability of anyone on the team. His ceiling is quite high. But, is he ready?
“Of course he’s ready”, you might be thinking. After all, weren’t Darren Evans and Ryan Williams ready as r-freshmen? If they were ready, why shouldn’t Edmunds be ready? We’re talking about a guy who rushed for 2,596 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior in high school and who was named a Parade All-American for his efforts.
That’s not the whole story, however. Trey Edmunds comes from a sharp family, and he was skipped a grade in school. He didn’t turn 18 until last December 30, after Virginia Tech’s bowl game with Rutgers. Edmunds had already completed his redshirt season before he even turned 18. He was playing in the 2013 Spring Game when he should have been getting ready for his Senior Prom. (For what it’s worth, his younger brother Terrell is the same way. Despite being a rising senior in high school, he is only 16 years old.)
In all likelihood, he’s not going to be ready to be Virginia Tech’s primary ball carrier as an 18 year old. He’s still a very raw player in many regards. He ran a 4.37 40 in winter testing, but when carrying the football there is still some wasted motion in his running style. He carries the ball loosely at times, which can lead to fumbles. He still has work to do on the little things, such as learning his proper landmarks, pass blocking assignments, etc.
If Virginia Tech was running their old school man blocking schemes, I believe that Trey Edmunds would be a shoo-in for the starting position. In man blocking schemes, you know where the hole is going to be (or where it’s supposed to be). Zone blocking schemes are different. A back must have excellent vision, and he must have anticipation skills. He has to be able to make moves in the backfield to make a linebacker move in one direction, and then cut it back through the hole that the linebacker vacated.
Some guys are naturals at all of that, but I’m not sure Trey Edmunds is. I think he’s got solid vision, but I don’t think it’s at a Ryan Williams level. The only things that will make him better are time and reps. As a r-freshman, he’s got plenty of time. The dismissal of Michael Holmes will help him get the reps. While the loss of Holmes might hurt the Hokies in the short term, it does allow Edmunds to get more reps in practice and in games early in his career. I think that could potentially play dividends by the end of the season.
I’m not looking for Edmunds to be a world beater early in the season, particularly against Alabama. I do think he’ll be a different – and improved – tailback by the end of the season as he gets more reps. He might start slow, but my prediction is that he’ll finish strong.
Here are Tech’s top rushers since 1999:
2012: Logan Thomas, 524
2011: David Wilson, 1709
2010: Darren Evans, 854
2009: Ryan Williams, 1655
2008: Darren Evans, 1265
2007: Branden Ore, 992
2006: Branden Ore, 1137
2005: Cedric Humes, 752
2004: Mike Imoh, 720
2003: Kevin Jones, 1647
2002: Lee Suggs, 1325
2001: Kevin Jones, 957
2000: Lee Suggs, 1207
1999: Shyrone Stith, 1119
I’m not going to fathom a guess at how many yards the leading rusher will have in 2013, but I know it needs to be a lot higher than the 524 that Logan Thomas put up last year. That means somebody is going to have to step up, whether it’s Trey Edmunds , J.C. Coleman or somebody else.
I believe Trey Edmunds will be a star running back for Virginia Tech before it’s all said and done. If it happens sooner rather than later, the Hokies will be a tough out in 2013.
Will Stewart’s Take: If you believe that Virginia Tech has a puncher’s chance against Alabama, thanks to defense and Logan Thomas, then Trey Edmunds ‘ lack of experience should be a downer for you. It’s almost impossible to know what a player offers, and what he can do, when he doesn’t have any game experience. It will be hard for the Hokie coaches to get a maximum contribution out of Edmunds, because he has never suited up in a real game, much less a season opening game in a dome, against #1 defending national champion Alabama.
Flash back to the same situation in 2009, when the Hokie coaches didn’t know what they had with Ryan Williams going into game one against Alabama, in Atlanta. Had they known Ryan’s capabilities inside and out, maybe he would have gotten more than 13 rushes against the Tide (Josh Oglesby got six), and Williams certainly wouldn’t have lined up at punt returner, where he muffed a punt that led to a turnover and an Alabama field goal.
But that’s just one game. I’ve been talking in recent articles about how long it’s going to take Logan Thomas — and by extension the Hokie offense — to get in their groove in 2013. With GT in game five and UNC in game six, it could be the difference between a Coastal Division championship or a seat on the couch as two other teams play in Charlotte on December 7th.
Include Trey Edmunds in that line of thinking. Never mind Alabama; we’re going to spend the first month of the season finding out what Trey can do, how much he can contribute in the ACC, how he can best be used, and how often he can be used. By the time the ACC games start, I hope Trey gets used to game speed at the college level, can keep the ball secure, and can make contributions when called on.
Like Chris, I think Trey has a lot of potential; the question is when that potential will kick in.