Former North Carolina commit Avery Edwards will walk-on to the Maryland football team and is eligible immediately. (Mandatory Credit: Suzie Wolf/HighSchoolOT.com)
On Monday, Maryland added walk-on and former three-star recruit Avery Edwards to the roster. We’ll have a closer look at what he can bring to the table.
When you first throw on the tape of Avery Edwards, his size immediately grabs your attention.
Edwards stand 6’5/230 lbs. and definitely is able to use his size to his advantage. His large frame allows quarterbacks a little more freedom when it comes to delivering the football. He is able to occupy a decent amount of space and adjust to the ball when it is in the air.
Especially in the red zone, tight ends are normally known for their ability to make leaping catches in the end zone. Edwards is able to occupy the real estate in the back of the end zone and haul in nearly any pass that is thrown his way. Again, being 6’5 definitely can have its advantages if you’re playing on the offensive side of the football.
His large frame also comes into play when he is trying to establish position down the field. Due to the fact that he played significant snaps at defensive end at Ravenscroft High School (NC), Edwards is familiar with being able fight off opposing linemen and get to where he needs to be on the field. On many occasions, the former Tar Heel commit finds himself lined up with opposing defensive ends on both run and pass plays. His ability to get past those ends is the difference between being a realistic option in the passing game and just being a decoy.
Edwards also has very good hands, which obviously are a tight end’s best friend.
He is able to make any catch in traffic, whether it’s in the back of the end zone or just on a short 5-10 yard route. During his senior season in 2013, Edwards caught 45 passes for 629 yards (14.0 yards-per-catch) and seven touchdowns. He also had 6.5 sacks while primarily playing defensive end.
With great hands, comes great awareness. Edwards always seems to know where exactly he is on the field. As was mentioned above, he knows precisely where the end line is in the back of the end zone and has in turn, made a living making tough catches in that area of the field. When rolling across the middle, Edwards knows when he needs to turn the corner as he usually is able to turn upfield and move his team closer to the sticks.
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There’s two very different types of tight ends in the game of football.
There are ones that are possession guys that just catch the ball and usually go down shortly after contact. Those tight ends are usually solid blockers as well and stay back and help protect the line of scrimmage quite a bit. However, you also have the athletic freaks at the position, similar to the Vernon Davis and Rob Gronkowski types. These are guys that can even line up at wide receiver and have the speed to make an impact from anywhere on the field.
Edwards could fall into that mold at the collegiate level. In high school, he showed the necessary speed to outrun most linebackers in coverage. Whether it was a crossing pattern or an over-the-top route, the Raleigh native has the quickness to get to that next level and find paydirt. Judging by the fact that he was offered by schools like Arkansas, Florida State, and Virginia Tech, Edwards clearly has the chops to be a very productive tight end in the Big Ten.
Obviously, the off-the-field issues are a red flag, but it appears that coach Randy Edsall and his staff did their homework on Edwards and were satisfied with what they learned.
Maryland doesn’t have a ton of talent at the tight end position, so this addition can be only looked at as a low-risk/high-reward. Edwards won’t even take up a scholarship spot when he first arrives in College Park. Obviously, that could all change with strong production.
With the Terps only registering six catches for 41 yards and one touchdown, adding a player with this type of upside is definitely the right move.