Can a perennial 1,000-yard receiver be underrated? In the case of Armanti Edwards, we’d argue the answer is yes.
Edwards was a superstar at Appalachian State University where he spent four seasons as the school’s starting quarterback, capturing back-to-back FCS National Championships in 2006 and 2007.
He rewrote the school’s record book, making history in the following categories: single-game rushing yards by a quarterback, 313 in 2007; single-game passing yards, 433 in 2008; single-season rushing yards by a quarterback, 1,588 in 2007; career rushing yards by a quarterback, 4,361; career passing yards, 10,392; career passing touchdowns, 74; and career wins by a starting quarterback, 42.
Edwards led the Mountaineers to a 34-32 victory over No. 5 Michigan in 2007, one of the biggest college football upsets of all-time. The game had no betting line and was played in front of 109,208 fans at Michigan Stadium. Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated said, “There’s no logical reason whatsoever this should have happened. But it did. And it wasn’t the slightest bit fluky.”
Edwards was given the Walter Payton Award in 2008 and 2009, an honour presented annually to the most outstanding offensive player in the FCS. Other winners include: Steve McNair, 1994; Dave Dickenson, 1995; Brian Westbook, 2001; Tony Romo, 2002; Bo Levi Mitchell, 2011; and Jimmy Garoppolo, 2013.
A testament to his fortitude and grit, Edwards made his first college start two weeks after his father was sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder.
“Adversity has brought out the very best in him,” his head coach Jerry Moore told the New York Times in 2008. Moore ensured that Edwards was able to visit his father, Freddie Edwards, whenever he wanted.
Edwards was selected in the third round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers. He was utilized as a receiver, return specialist, and wildcat quarterback behind rookie starter Jimmy Clausen. The native of Greenwood, S.C. appeared in 34 games with the Panthers, recording 55 returns for 576 yards, five receptions for 121 yards, and two carries for 12 yards. He also went two-of-three passing for 11 yards.
Edwards had brief stints with Cleveland (2013) and Chicago in (2014) before signing with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in February 2016.
The five-foot-eleven, 185-pound target caught 19 passes for 231 yards and one touchdown in four games as a rookie. He was traded to the Toronto Argonauts the following year in exchange for Canadian offensive lineman Peter Dyakowski and won a Grey Cup in his first year with Toronto.
Edwards recorded 225 receptions for 2,950 yards and 15 touchdowns over three seasons with the Argos. Though he’s only officially had one 1,000-yard CFL season, he finished just 38 yards shy of the milestone in 2017 and 26 yards shy in 2018.
His age — almost 32 — may have been a factor, but Edwards did not receive an attractive offer in free agency this past February. He opted to sign in the XFL, becoming a member of the Dallas Renegades on February 25, 2020.
With his XFL contract voided as the league suspended operations, Edwards signed a one-year deal with the Edmonton Football Team. He will be a free agent in February 2021.
3DownNation is unveiling its list of the top 100 active CFL players. To read the criteria for player eligibility, click here. The list to date can be found below.
92. RB C.J. Gable, Free Agent
93. DT Mike Rose, Calgary Stampeders
94. REC S.J. Green, Free Agent
95. DB Mike Edem, Saskatchewan Roughriders
96. DL John Bowman, Montreal Alouettes
97. DB Taylor Loffler, Montreal Alouettes
98. QB Nick Arbuckle, Ottawa Redblacks
99. ST Mike Miller, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
100. DE Chris Casher, B.C. Lions