Former Eag Edwards Joins EWU Coaching Staff - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Former Eag Edwards Joins EWU Coaching Staff

Nicholas Edwards had a storied career with the Eags as a player, now he joins Beau Baldwins staff. Nicholas Edwards had a storied career with the Eags as a player, now he joins Beau Baldwins staff.

by EWU Athletics

A former Eagle who went from walk-on to national champion and All-American in just three years’ time, Nicholas Edwards has joined the Eastern Washington University football coaching staff as EWU’s new wide receivers coach.

Edwards, 24, began his duties on March 17 and will be on the staff with the Eagles when they begin spring football practice on Friday, April 4. The unanimous 2011 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision first team All-American was set to attend training camp with the Edmonton Eskimos this coming May, but will pass on that opportunity to begin his coaching career.

Edwards takes the place of Junior Adams, who resigned in January to coach receivers at Boise State. In between stints trying to find a home in professional football with the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League, Edwards served at EWU in fall of 2013 as a strength and conditioning assistant after receiving his bachelor’s degree in recreation management from Eastern in 2012.

“We’re excited to have Nick join our coaching staff and make the transition from player to coach,” said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. “He was a very mature and hard-working player, so we saw a lot of qualities that would translate to him becoming an outstanding coach. His playing experiences will no doubt help him be a valuable asset to our staff.”

A walk-on when he first came to Eastern, Edwards started 45 of the 50 games in his career, and played in all 38 EWU games his first three seasons until a knee injury sidelined him for part of his senior season.

His 215 career catches ranks fourth in school history and his 33 TD receptions are second (the record is 46). He finished fifth all-time in Eastern history in receiving yards with 2,634, and was sixth in points scored with 202.

As a junior in 2011, Edwards was selected to nine NCAA Football Championship Subdivision All-America teams – including seven first team selections – after catching a school-record 95 passes for 1,250 yards and 19 touchdowns to lead the FCS.

Among the receivers he played with as a senior in 2012 were current Eagles Cory Mitchell and Shaq Hill, as well as 2012 redshirt Cooper Kupp, who became a unanimous All-American in 2013 and won the Jerry Rice Award given to the top freshman in FCS. Kupp had 21 receiving touchdowns to break Edwards’ record of 19, but his 93 catches were two shy of the record of 95 owned by Edwards.

Edwards helped Eastern win the 2010 NCAA Division I title as a sophomore when he started all 15 games and had 57 catches for 614 yards and seven touchdowns. His quarterback on that team, as well as 2011, was Cory Mitchell’s younger brother Bo Levi Mitchell, who is now with the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL.

Edwards was born Dec. 23, 1989. He and his wife, Macca, were married on June 26, 2011.

COMLETE NICHOLAS EDWARDS PLAYING BIO

#11, WR, 6-3, 200, Tacoma, Wash.

Career: A walk-on when he first came to Eastern, Edwards says he had a “chip on his shoulder” after he graduated from high school with no college scholarship offers, and says, “I’ve worked really hard to prove everybody wrong.” He started 45 of the 50 games in his career, and played in all 38 EWU games his first three seasons until a knee injury sidelined him for part of his senior season. He had six performances with at least 10 catches in his career, and seven with at least 100 yards. His 215 career catches ranks fourth in school history and his 33 TD receptions are second (the record is 46). He finished fifth all-time in Eastern history in receiving yards with 2,634, and was sixth in points scored with 202. Former Eastern quarterback and Walter Payton Award winner Bo Levi Mitchell said Edwards reminds him of Jerry Rice, and called some of the plays he made “Rice-esque.” The trio of Edwards, Brandon Kaufman and Greg Herd combined for 139 games worth of experience at Eastern (103 starts), and had collective totals of 601 catches for 8,713 yards and 83 touchdowns. Edwards and Herd were once teammates on a league championship youth football team in Tacoma, Wash. Edwards was in fourth grade and played wide receiver for the team, and Herd was in third grade. Amazingly, considering that he eventually became a quarterback and wide receiver in later years, Herd played right guard on the squad.

2012: Edwards was an honorable mention All-Big Sky Conference selection in 2012, but was hampered by an early-season knee injury that kept him out of three full games (he was injured on the first offensive play in the first of those three games). A seven-game starter, he finished his senior season with 37 catches for 436 yards and four scores. He caught a season-high six passes for 66 yards against Sacramento State (10/20/12) and four for 77 yards and two TDs against Portland State (11/17/12) when EWU clinched the Big Sky Conference title. The last catch of his career was a 7-yard touchdown pass versus Sam Houston State in the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs. Entering the season, he was named as a first team preseason All-American by The Sports Network, Athlon College Football Preview, Phil Steele’s FCS College Football Preview, AnyGivenSaturday.com and Beyond Sports College Network. The Sports Network picked him as one of the top 10 wide receivers to watch in FCS football, and a similar list ranked him No. 2 among all FCS wide receivers by Phil Steele’s FCS College Football Preview (Brandon Kaufman was No. 6 and Greg Herd was No. 13, while Aaron Mellette of Elon held down the No. 1 position). College Football Performance Awards selected Edwards and Herd as two of the top 38 returning wide receivers in FCS in 2012. Was selected to the preseason All-Big Sky Conference squad and Phil Steele listed him as a first team preseason All-Big Sky selection. At the end of spring practices, he was one of three players receiving an “Iron Eagle” Award for achievements in the off-season in strength and conditioning and the classroom.

2011: Edwards was selected to nine NCAA Football Championship Subdivision All-America teams – including seven first team selections – after catching a school-record 95 passes for 1,250 yards and 19 touchdowns to lead the FCS. He earned first team accolades from American Football Coaches Association, The Sports Network, College Sporting News “Fabulous Fifty”, Walter Camp Football Foundation, Phil Steele Publications, Beyond Sports College Network and College Sports Journal, and second team accolades from Associated Press and Collegesportsmadness.com. Earned first team All-Big Sky Conference honors and was selected as the team’s Offensive Player of the Year. He started all 11 Eastern games, and his 95 grabs broke the school record previously set by Eric Kimble with 87 in 12 games in 2005. His receptions ranked 20th in FCS history and third all-time in the Big Sky, and his average of 8.64 catches per game was fifth in BSC history. The 19 touchdown receptions Edwards had equaled the school record of 19 set in 2004 by Kimble, who owns the top two receiving yardage marks with 1,453 in 2004 and 1,419 in 2005. Edwards finished the season with 1,250 yards to rank fifth all-time at Eastern, his 19 touchdowns overall are fourth and his 116 points scored rank fourth. Edwards finished the 2011 season ranked fourth in FCS in receptions per game (8.64) and fourth in receiving yards per game (113.6). He had performances of 13 catches (second in school history), two of 12 (eighth), 11 (12th) and two of 10 (20th) in the 2011 season, and had nine catches for 166 yards and three touchdowns versus Portland State (10/29/11). His 13 receptions – second-best in school history behind the record of 17 – came against South Dakota (9/10/11). Edwards earned a variety of national NCAA Football Championship Subdivision honors, including The Sports Network/Fathead.com co-National Player of Week, after tying a school record with four touchdown receptions in EWU’s 42-35 come-from-behind overtime victory over Sacramento (10/22/11). He also earned National Performer of the Week and National Wide Receiver of the Week from College Football Performance Awards, and earned Beyond Sports College Network FCS Player of the Week accolades. Edwards was named Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Week as well, giving EWU a string of three-straight weeks in winning the award. Against the Hornets, Edwards finished with 11 catches for a career-high 192 receiving yards, and had TD catches of 35, 16, 39 and 22 yards from Bo Levi Mitchell. His four TD catches were a school record, sharing the record with Jamie Buenzli (versus Nevada on Sept. 12, 1987) and Joe Pierce (versus Central Washington on Sept. 13, 2003). Three of Edwards’ TD catches came in the fourth quarter, and he added a 17-yard reception in overtime that set-up EWU’s go-ahead touchdown. The 11 catches for Edwards versus the Hornets equaled the 11th-most in school history (now 12th) and his 192 yards ranks ninth. He opened the season against Washington (9/3/11) with 12 grabs for 108 yards and a touchdown. His performance helped Eastern to a dominating 504-250 advantage in total offense in the 30-27 loss, as he was one of four Eastern receivers to record career highs for receptions and yards in the game. He earned honorable mention nationally by the College Football Performance Awards for his performances against Weber State (10/1/11), PSU and ISU (11/19/11). Four times he earned team offensive player of the week accolades (South Dakota, Weber State, Sac State, PSU). Edwards earned second team preseason All-Big Sky Conference honors by Phil Steele’s FCS College Football Preview.

2010: Started all 15 games as a wide receiver, including EWU’s four playoff games at slot after senior Ashton Gant injured his knee in EWU’s final regular season game of the season. He flourished in Eastern’s offense at that position in the playoffs, catching 26 passes for 281 yards and five touchdowns, as he scored at least one TD in each playoff game. He finished the season with 57 catches, which equaled the 13th-most in school history (now 15th). Edwards caught six passes for 74 yards against Delaware (1/7/11) in the NCAA Division I Championship game in Frisco, Texas, as EWU used three long drives in the final 16:48 to rally from a 19-0 deficit for a 20-19 victory. In the middle drive, Bo Levi Mitchell had a 9-yard TD pass to Edwards to pull EWU within 19-13 with 8:16 remaining. In a semifinal victory over Villanova (12/17/10), Edwards caught what was then a career-high nine passes for 82 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His scoring catches of 31 and 6 yards helped give the Eagles a 20-7 lead in the second quarter of the 41-31 victory. A sliding, 40-yard catch by Edwards on a pass from Mitchell was the longest play during a remarkable, game-tying drive in the quarterfinals of the playoffs against North Dakota State (12/11/10). After struggling with five turnovers in the second half during a snowstorm and falling behind 31-24, the Eagles put together a 13-play, 90-yard drive to knot the score with 23 seconds to play. Besides the 40-yard pass connection, Eastern converted two fourth downs and scored the tying touchdown on a 4-yard pass from Mitchell to Edwards. The Eagles went on to win 38-31 in overtime. He had eight catches versus Southeast Missouri State (12/4/10) in EWU’s opener in the playoffs to earn team offensive player of the week honors. Earlier in the season, he had eight grabs for 73 yards and a touchdown versus Northern Arizona (10/9/10) in a 21-14 victory.

2009: Started 11 of Eastern’s 12 games at wide receiver. He made his debut against Western Oregon (9/5/09) and had a non-scoring 33-yard catch. He earned a starting position despite the fact EWU had three returning three-year starters at the wide receiver positions. He finished the year with 26 catches for 334 yards and three touchdowns, including 21 grabs in EWU’s final six games when All-American Aaron Boyce was lost for the year with an Achilles injury. Edwards had all three of his touchdowns in Eastern’s final regular season game against Northern Arizona (11/21/09). All three of his catches were scores – 8, 10 and 18 yards – as EWU prevailed 49-45 and clinched a berth in the FCS Playoffs. The following week in the playoffs versus Stephen F. Austin (11/28/09), Edwards had season highs with five catches and 73 yards.

2008: Redshirted.

High School: Graduated from Foss HS in 2008. He was going to attend Santa Rosa Junior College in California before Eastern invited him to be a walk-on. As a senior, he was the Narrows League Bridge Division Offensive MVP and also earned All-Area honors from the Tacoma News Tribune. He caught 69 passes for 896 yards and 12 touchdowns. As a junior, he earned first team all-league honors as a wide receiver, and second team All-Area accolades. He also earned first team All-Narrows League honors in basketball and also competed in track and field. His Eagle teammates Allen Brown (’09) and Drew Reynolds (’09) also attended Foss.

Personal: Recreation management major. Born 12/23/89 in Tacoma, Wash. One of his workout partners in Tacoma was Joe Rubin, a fellow Foss grad and former running back at Big Sky rival Portland State.

2012 HONORS

All-Big Sky - League Coaches (honorable mention)

2012 PRESEASON HONORS

Senior Bowl Watch List

The Sports Network All-America First Team

Athlon College Football Preview All-America First Team

College Sporting News All-America First Team

AnyGivenSaturday.Com All-America First Team

Beyond Sports College Network All-America First Team

Phil Steele FCS Preview All-America First Team

College Sports Journal All-America First Team

FCS Senior Scout Bowl All-America First Team

Lindy’s College Football Preview All-America Second Team

College Sports Madness All-America Second Team

Phil Steele FCS Preview 2nd-Ranked Wide Receiver in FCS

The Sports Network List of Top FCS Players to Watch (top 10 wide receivers)

College Football Performance Awards FCS Watch List (top 38 wide receivers)

All-Big Sky Conference First Team

Phil Steele FCS Preview All-Big Sky Conference First Team

College Sports Madness All-Big Sky Conference First Team

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