Derby RB Dylan Edwards continues to catch coaches’ attention

By Joanna Chadwick

Minnesota is the latest college to offer Derby junior running back Dylan Edwards, who also has offers from Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky,Memphis, West Virginia and Tennessee Tech.

Edwards had 1,833 rushing yards over 11 games in the 2020 season, including 170 in the Class 6A title game, which Derby won 56-31 over Blue Valley North for its third straight title. He had 25 touchdowns on the season.

“It’s been a very busy summer,” said Edwards in June as he watched the Derby boys basketball team play in a summer league tournament. “… It’s been crazy. I hop on phone calls every day with college coaches. I’m nervous at the same time because I don’t know where I’ll end up at the end of the day. Right now it’s about building relationships.”

Edwards’ humility is exactly what his parents have taught from Day One.

“We keep God first, we remain humble,” said his dad, Leon, who played at Wichita Southeast and Kansas State. “Have an inside cockiness, but a humbleness comes out — it’s what you convey in how you speak and think about your speak. That gives you an edge.”

Dylan Edwards has made his mark for Derby, becoming one of the rare players for coach Brandon Clark to play significant minutes as a freshman.

Edwards’ speed is what catches people’s eyes initially. Put the ball in his hands, blink, and he’s gone.

“My fastest 40 is a 4.34,” he said. “My fastest right now is a 4.40.

“… I think speed is one thing (coaches) love about my game. How I can come out of the backfield or catch a pass. It’s about being an all-purpose guy and being more valuable to these teams.”

Leon Edwards added: “What they love about his game is his football IQ for one and his speed. You can’t teach speed. That’s a blessing from up above.”

Dylan Edwards sees the field well, too, and he can slip through most gaps.

He often watches a tape of his dad playing for Southeast against Derby, taking notes on what he can do better.

“He plays just like me,” Edwards said of his dad. “I try to watch his games and … everything he does, I mirror it and try to do it better. I want to get more into blocking; he did well at blocking. And he could change speed on a dime. His cuts and everything were so good.”

Leon Edwards, a 5-foot-6 running back, was a two-time All-State selection in 1988 and 1989. He averaged 235 yards a game and was named to the Wichita Eagle’s 100 greatest Wichita athletes in 2000.

“Dylan watches the things that I did at that time and he implements them and takes them to the next level,” Leon Edwards said. “I had the same burst of speed, but he has me times 10 in the things he’s blessed with — he has a sixth gear. I was in fourth gear. He can maintain that speed through the whole 100 yards.”

Dylan Edwards expects to become a larger part of the passing game this season.

“This year I want to get myself out in space more,” Edwards said. “Clark has made the offense where I can get out in space more. I can catch passes out of the backfield or in the slot. It’s all about being more versatile.”