Ready for some football
Edmiston excited to get back on field for Mavs' opener
It’s the day that players look forward to the most: the season opener.
It’s today for the Colorado Mesa University football team, and while everyone is jacked up, it’s a good bet no one will be more ready to play than Jake Edmiston.
The Colorado Mesa University junior linebacker will play for the first time since Oct. 15, 2011, when a pair of injuries on one play ended his season in the Mavericks’ loss to the Colorado School of Mines. Edmiston missed the final four games of the season and spring ball.
He, as much as anyone, is ready for a revival when the Mavericks begin a new era under coach Russ Martin at 7 p.m. today at No. 21 Humboldt State (Calif.) University.
“Obviously, I’m excited,” Edmiston said. “It’s been a long time. I was talking to some of the guys earlier. It’s been 10-and-a-half months since I’ve got to hit someone besides my own teammates, so it’s going to be nice.”
The Palisade High School graduate will start the season opener and is one of six returning starters on defense for the Mavericks. Eight starters return on offense.
Edmiston, whom teammates call Frosty, was a starter at outside linebacker last year alongside three seniors. He averaged seven tackles a game and had 15 tackles and an interception against nationally ranked University of Nebraska-Kearney, where Martin was the offensive coordinator.
“He’s a guy that can help guys get lined up right and checks made,” Martin said. “He’s a smart football player. He recognizes things very well. He can decipher through all the things (offensive formations). He’s a good, tough football player.”
Edmiston tore his right knee ligaments and broke his hand on the same play last year against Colorado School of Mines.
“It was a freak accident, I guess,” Edmiston said. “I remember my knee popped and I came off the field. They took a look at it and told me it was torn. I didn’t want to believe them obviously. I could feel it once I came to the sideline. They made me pull my hands apart, and I could feel the bones move around in there. I didn’t know it was broken until then.”
A season-ending injury can crush a player’s spirit, but for Edmiston it was a blessing in disguise.
“Everyone says you never know what play could be your last,” he said. “I never really knew that until then. I’ve never had a significant injury where I missed any time, a practice or game, through high school and college. To have that and know you’re down for six months and there’s nothing you can do about it, I realized how blessed I am to play the game.”
Edmiston’s work in rehabilitation caught Martin’s eye.
“He’s had a great attitude coming back from all that stuff,” Martin said. “He’s a great example of a leader in the weight room, in the classroom, around campus. You want a class guy. That’s how he’s been acting and playing. He’s hungry to get after it.”
Edmiston’s work in rehab earned him an opportunity to be a defensive captain. He’ll be calling defensive plays at middle linebacker this season.
“I’m definitely not the most physically gifted guy by any stretch of the imagination,” Edmiston said. “I’ve always tried to be ahead mentally. It’s an honor coach has the trust in me to relay stuff to the other linebackers, D-line and the secondary.”
If that wasn’t enough, Edmiston is also the Mavericks’ long snapper on field goals and punts.