COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- After the Terps’ spring practice March 22, senior transfer Trey Edmunds glanced across the way and motioned in the direction of the Maryland Stadium. Somewhere in there, the running back intimated, was a picture of his father, former UMD tight end and NFL Pro Bowler Ferrell Edmunds.
Soon after Trey Edmunds opted to leave Virginia Tech for his dad’s alma mater back in January, Ferrell Edmunds told his son he had to seek out that oversized photo in the stadium's concourse.
“[Ferrell Edmunds] told me whenever I get my actual game uniform we’re going to take a picture beside his picture. We’ll do a little compare-and-contrast type of thing (laughs). I definitely want to do that,” said Trey Edmunds, who spent four years in Blacksburg, Va., graduating with a degree in multimedia journalism before the New Year. “But he told me a lot about Maryland, just the difference between the school now and in the 1980s. He said it was good back then, but it’s wonderful for me now. He was definitely excited for me, so I can’t complain.”
Indeed, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Danville, Va., native was all smiles March 22. While he had naught but praise for the Hokies, Edmunds couldn’t say enough about his last two months in College Park.
“It’s been great. Coming from Virginia Tech and playing college football four years, I’ve had a lot of experience. But just coming here with the new atmosphere, the new coaches – I’m loving it,” said Edmunds, who redshirted his freshman year, giving him one final season of eligibility. “I’m loving my position coach, the offensive coaches, the defensive coaches, the special teams coaches, the whole organization. It’s just another chance to get better and just improve my game the best I can. Each day I come out here with a positive mindset and just try to get better.”
Although Edmunds loved playing for then-Tech head coach Frank Beamer, the former Parade All-American, who was reared by his father at Dan River High (Danville, Va.), had seen his carries steadily decrease following a solid redshirt freshman campaign. Edmunds started 10 of 12 games in 2013, rushing for 675 yards and 10 scores, to go along with 17 receptions and two more touchdowns.
But the next year he suffered a fractured clavicle, limiting him to seven appearances and 21 total carries. Edmunds came back strong in 2015, but by that time he’d been surpassed on the depth chart. Relegated to backup duty, he tallied only 47 carries for 185 yards, seeing the bulk of his time on special teams.
Edmunds demurred when asked if the limited reps, coupled with Beamer’s retirement and head coach Justin Fuente’s ascension, led to the transfer, but the writing was on the wall, so to speak.
“Just new opportunities for me to better my game, and I’m just happy to play for Coach [D.J.] Durkin and the rest of the guys here at Maryland,” said Edmunds, whose two younger brothers, Tremaine and Terrell (both former UMD targets), currently play for the Hokies. “It was crazy how the [transfer] happened. It just happened. Nothing was pre-planned at all. … But it was a lot of discussion with my family and friends, and just a lot of support. Just evaluating things, I just felt like this [Maryland] would be the best fit. … I really enjoyed my time at Virginia Tech, but I’m happy to be here too.”
Evidently Edmunds hasn’t had a difficult time adjusting to Maryland or Durkin’s style. Had he stayed at Tech, he would have had a challenge on his hands anyway considering Fuente’s offense vastly differs from Beamer’s. So the veteran back was already mentally prepared to learn a new playbook. Why not do so at a program that presented a chance for increased playing time?
“I’ve been doing this for four years, and I think this is my third offense since being in college, and you just get accustomed to it,” Edmunds said. “Like in the pros, guys get signed in the middle of the season and are expected to play the next week. So, I mean, at the end of the day football is football. There’s different verbiage, different terminology, but if you understand concepts then, I wouldn’t say it’s easy to pick up, but it becomes more familiar to you.”
It helps that Edmunds has readily taken to offensive coordinator Walt Bell, the two developing a fast rapport. Edmunds mentioned he knew Bell when the coach was at UNC, helping mold running backs like Giovani Bernard.
“[Bell] definitely has history and knows the game inside and out. He knows it from a running back’s standpoint, a receiver’s standpoint, a quarterback’s standpoint and the offensive line,” Edmunds said. “So he’s definitely well-rounded, and you just have to respect a guy like that. I’m just eager to perform for him.”
And perform Edmunds has. Durkin has tossed the senior back more than one compliment during both media sessions this spring, the headman noting Edmunds’ experience and work ethic.
“Trey’s been great. Just like everyone else he’s learning a new offense, but the guy works really hard; had a great offseason with us; and has had a great couple practices,” Durkin said. “He’s a hard-playing, physical guy. He’s got that experience that you’d figure a senior would have. He’s played some college football, so nothing gets too fast for him. We’ll keep working him and repping him; he’ll be a big help for us.”
Obviously, Edmunds senses an opportunity to shine at Maryland with junior Wes Brown and sophomore Ty Johnson the only true competitors on the depth chart. But Edmunds didn’t enter the program looking to steal the spotlight.
“First and foremost I’m going to bring leadership, just being a guy that has done it and been in a college game, experienced highs and lows,” Edmunds said. “Then I want to bring work ethic, just being a guy my teammates say, ‘Oh man, Trey brings it every day and just gives 110 percent.’ If guys can say that about me, then I can feel accomplished.
“I feel if you go out there and work hard and have a positive mindset and show leadership, everything else will take care of itself.”