Georgia Football: What Did the Bulldogs Get in Daijun Edwards?
Daijun Edwards received an offer from the University of Georgia in November of 2016. He was a true freshman that was nearing the end of his first year of high school football, though his talents already warranted an offer from the in-state program.
In that Freshman season, Edwards rushed for a team-high 887 yards and 14 TDs. On a football team that went (8-5) in the biggest classification the state of Georgia has to offer.
He followed up his rookie campaign with a Sophomore season in which he rushed for 1,038 yards on just 176 carries and 13 TDs on the ground. This is where you really begin to see Edwards begin to really fill out physically.
His Junior season he was finally the primary feature in the backfield. He received a career-high 227 carries in 2018 for a career-high 1,480 yards. The most impressive thing about his dynamic Junior season at Colquitt County has to be the fact that he seemed to get even better as his workload increased. His 6.4 YPC average in 2018 was almost a half a yard higher than any other season.
His Senior season for the first time in his high school career, he didn't make at least the Elite 8, but in just 12 games put up 1,008 yards and 408 yards receiving, more than doubling his previous career-high.
So, it should go without saying this young man has had an illustrious high school career. 5,234 All-Purpose yards. 64 rushing TDs. 32 wins, and he played for a state championship in two of the four seasons.
But what does this 4-star running back bring to Georgia?
One thing is for sure. This 5'11, 210 pound back from Southwest, Georgia has spent his fair share of time in that fabulous weight room (or rooms) down there at Colquitt County high school. He's known for his work ethic and quiet demeanor, but on the football field, you feel him.
No defender leaves an encounter with Daijun Edwards feeling like they've bested the Georgia commit. He plays with a constant forward lean and breaking through arm tackles are a thing of the norm.
Is he the fastest back in the 2020 class? Absolutely not. However, straight-line speed is not the end all be all evaluation point for great backs. Sure, it helps to be able to run away from people, but it's just as beneficial to have the short-area quickness to make defenders miss.
Edwards has a dynamic dead leg, similar to that of former Georgia back D'Andre Swift. It's not as explosive in terms of the delivery, but almost as effective. Pair that with his ability to make jump cuts in the hole and you've got a great back.
3 Down Back
Often times with high school tailbacks you have to question whether or not they will be able to handle the full 3-down load that is required at the college level. The ability to not only be a threat out of the backfield as a pass-catcher but also having the ability to understand and identify pass protection is vital.
Becoming a complete back was obviously a point of concentration for Edwards headed into his final high school season. His 408 receiving yards in 2019 accounted for 49.69% of his career total as a pass-catcher. The offensive system at Colquitt even featured several designed plays for Edwards to catch the ball, showing the confidence that Colquitt staff had in him.
Areas of improvement:
The primary point of concern is obviously the top-end speed, but I'm here to tell you there's more to being a great back in the SEC than being able to burn a 40. Nothing against James Cook, but he's a 4.4 runner, Elijah Holyfield ran a 4.78 at the NFL Combine. Who had a better collegiate career?
Sure, Edwards has room to grow in terms of the explosive attributes, but his 32" vertical tells me all I need to know about the explosiveness being produced by that lower half.
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