Michigan football RB Donovan Edwards has his fire back, ready for 2024


ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Everyone could see it, but it was still hard to believe. Despite breaking out in his sophomore campaign, Michigan football running back Donovan Edwards had taken a step back in his junior year.

Edwards burst onto the national scene midway through 2022 when he was dominant against Penn State, but it was the Ohio State game when he busted out a 75-yard and 85-yard touchdown run that he was suddenly thrust into the national spotlight. However, 2023 didn’t quite go as planned, and now we know a little more as to why.

Though he had two 40-plus yard touchdown runs in the national championship game, Edwards’ highlight reel moments in 2023 were scant. And he says that much of the season went how it did because he somewhat lost that drive that pushed him forward from late in high school into the early part of his Michigan career.

“I’ve always had this fire in my heart and the fire and my heart started COVID year going into my senior year of high school,” Edwards said. “Working out, watching ‘The Last Dance’ with Michael Jordan and what the Chicago Bulls were doing. And that just inspired me, that made the fire in my heart continue to grow, right? And I’ll be honest, I kind of lost it like going into my junior year. Not feeling great, I’m not getting the carries that I want. But it clicked for me again, that fire in my heart was there, it became evident that — it was a practice that it just showed back up.

“So, I’m praying that everything is happening for me because all it’s going to do is just continue to push me as a player and as a man, you know? I can’t sit up here and say that I haven’t faced adversity because I have. Whether the adversity has made me a man and adversity is gonna make me a better football player. So I’m still confident that — don’t mistake my confidence for arrogance, but I’m confident within myself and my abilities and my capabilities. So, my obligation is to just continue to bring everybody else up with me, because as long as we can do that, we will be successful.”

So, how did he get his fire back? Edwards said that one practice sometime late in the 2023 season, he suddenly felt back to himself.

“Just in a practice,” Edwards said. “I think it was before one of our rivals’ games or something — something just switched within. I was taking a knee, just like just having my head down. And I felt the fire just emerge and back into my body. So I’m happy that that happened. It’s up to me just to continue to work every single day to make today better than it was yesterday and to make tomorrow better than today. So that’s what I live by and that’s what I’m going to continue to do. To help this team win and to bring guys up and to emerge them as leaders as well.”

Of course, Edwards wasn’t quite himself in 2023 also due to the fact that he had offseason knee surgery. While he was confident that the surgery would help him at the time, it set him back. He wasn’t able to participate in spring ball, and looking back, he realizes that was an opportunity missed. He also didn’t quite get over the pain and feel like his old self as he worked back into game shape.

But now, Edwards isn’t just participating in his senior spring ball, but he’s back to form and better than ever. He’s up from 200 pounds to 214, noting that should help him with contact against linebackers. He still has the home-run speed. And after having a down year, he’s ready to take that next step as the Wolverines’ feature back.

“I think that last year, spring ball, not being able to participate in spring set me back tremendously,” Edwards said. “What spring ball is about is being able to get your confidence, being able to get a feel for the game, and I wasn’t able to get there last year. Coming up with a knee surgery, I didn’t start practicing again until August, and I was still having other issues within my body that I’m still working through today.

“When you’re not feeling good — now I feel great. I feel like my cuts are looking better. I’m playing better — the speed is back and the speed is where it needs to be. And I put on 14 more pounds. So being able to stay healthy all last year and to be able to participate in spring ball right now is continuing to boost my confidence.”



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