Standing at 6'1 and weighing 235 pounds, Running back Gus Edwards is hard to forget. He hovers four inches higher than Miami's top two running backs, and outweighs Miami's top two rushers in 2015 by 30 pounds. He goes by "Gus the Bus," and despite being derailed from action due to an injury last season, Edwards is making an impact.
"He's been running the ball fairly well," Quarterback Brad Kaaya said regarding Edwards earlier this Spring. "It should be a good addition to this offense. He is also in my grade now because of the whole redshirt thing, so we'll still have him for two more years."
Edward's power running ability is something Miami has missed since Mike James and Duke Johnson departed, and in Mark Richt's new offense, that power and stamina is necessary.
"So far we’ve been running the ball a lot in practices," Edwards said in a post practice interview this Spring. " The offense is very up-tempo. They want to build it up to go four quarters."
And although four quarters is the mission, Edwards made an impact from the first quarter of this past weekend's Spring game. On his very first offensive drive, "The Bus" rolled his way into the end zone, and despite a rotation of backs, Edwards rushed for 57 yards before the game's conclusion.
Edwards was the number 1 Running back for the Hurricane's "Orange Team" during the scrimmage, and is one of the three running backs Head Coach Mark Richt says have "separated" themselves from the pack. Although Edwards lost a year of experience last year, to the 'Canes his unique running ability is unmatched by any other Miami running back.
During the 2014 season, his last full season on the field, Edwards finished third on the team in rushing and second in rushing touchdowns. This versatility and shiftiness had coaches excited last year for his season, and has fans excited for his performance this year.
Edwards is excited to simply be out there, and after the road through rehabilitation from his injury, one can't blame him. The 6'1 tailback suffered a Lisfranc fracture during an August 22nd scrimmage last fall, and had surgery not long after. In his absence, Miami finished a meager 112th in the FBS in rushing yards during the 2015 season, and lacked a punisher to make his way into the end zone.
From day 1 on campus, Edwards was a big body. Out of Tottenville High School in Staten Island, N.Y., Augustus Edwards weighed 221 pounds. He wasn't one of Miami's highly rated recruits, but in high school Edwards lived up to his nickname, "The Bus".
Entering Al Golden's regime, it was clear that Edwards was needed, and with Mark Richt taking over this season, he is indispensable. Now healthy, Edwards broke UM Hall of Famer Willis McGahee's record for largest power clean by a running back within the program. Gus power cleaned 352 pounds, and ran the fastest forty yard dash time of any of Miami's top 3 running backs. Edward's might emerge as one of Miami's primary ball carriers, and is a large part of one of Miami's deepest units.
Mark Walton and Joseph Yearby will also be a part of Miami's three headed monster, with an appropriate amount of carries expected to go towards Junior Trayone Gray. A dark horse to watch for to deliver some carries this season is Travis Homer, but with Gus Edwards now back in the rotation it will be tough to see how more carries will be dispersed. This depth chart is a good problem to have for Miami's coaches, and Edwards is certainly a major part of the discussion.
"The Bus" has had many detours during his time in Coral Gables. Whether it was the difficulty of climbing through the depth chart, or the toll of a major foot injury, Edwards has plowed through obstacles. And if there is one thing to learn from his journey through spring football, it is that Gus has not reached his final destination. Edward's still has two years remaining of eligibility; and as those around the program can attest, "The Bus" still has plenty of tread on his tires.