Even though Fort Smith Northside junior tailback Semaj Edwards is no longer a linebacker, he's still got that mentality.
Edwards (5-10, 205, 4.6), a player that Arkansas and many other schools are interested in and who went over 1,000 yards in his team's 28-27 loss to Rogers on Friday, would just as soon run over you as around you.
"I love contact," Edwards said, "and I like to be the one dishing it out."
That running style has Northside head coach Darrell Henry going old school for a comparison.
"He runs the ball like a Walter Peyton," Henry said. "He's got all the moves, but at the end, he will punish you. That gets him those two or three extra yards. He works so hard at it and at the end of the game you get tired of that if you are a linebacker. We run him 30 times and he is hitting those linebackers 30 times. That's what makes it look like he is getting stronger and wearing them down because they are backing away."
Henry told Edwards - who had 192 yards against Pine Bluff early in the season, before the campaign started that he was going to have a heavy workload during it for Northside (6-2, 3-2).
"We told him in the off-season that you are going to carry the ball 30 times per game so you better get in shape," Henry said. "He said ‘fine, Coach.' He has a 3.5 grade point average, a smile on his face every day and he busts his butt on the field and in the classroom. He opens doors for everyone. He's just a great kid."
Edwards, averaging right around carries per game in the first eight games and named after a former character on Sesame Street, says the more the merrier.
"Whether it be 30 or 35 carries a game, it really doesn't bother me," Edwards said. "I get stronger as the game goes. Obviously I am powerful, got a little bit of speed, I'm agile and my vision is good. I just need work on my quickness and my shiftiness and try to avoid some defenders instead of running over them all the time."
UA offensive line commit Austin Eoff (6-5, 305), who has moved to center this year, says he loves blocking for Edwards.
"He is incredible," Eoff said. "I think he is going to be the next really good running back to come out of this state. He is strong – really, really strong – is fast and can catch the ball out of the backfield. He is fun to block for definitely."
Edwards took an unofficial visit to Arkansas two Saturdays ago, in part to see the Razorbacks and in part to see former teammate Kodi Burns play a few plays for Auburn.
Arkansas joins Oklahoma State, BYU, Cal, Rice, Rutgers, Texas A&M and Texas Tech among those showing interest in Edwards.
"Arkansas has a great program," Edwards said. "They have great facilities, great coaches, a great staff."
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