Analysis Opinion

High profile collegiate games have prepared Clyde Edwards-Helaire for his moment

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is no stranger to big games or national TV coverage. Having played in the SEC and helped his team to the National Championship, Edwards-Helaire seems to shine when the lights are the brightest.

With Damien Williams opting out of the 2020 season due to his mother being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, the bulk of the carries will fall on the unproven rookie, Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Is this rookie that unproven though? He seemed to really step up in big time games while playing at LSU, so much so that even Patrick Mahomes took notice. According to Nate Taylor of the Athletic, Mahomes said he “loved” the fact that Edwards-Helaire was at his best in the biggest games at LSU and talked up his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. And that is certainly something he will need to do in the upcoming season, as head coach Andy Reid doesn’t always use his RBs in a traditional sense. Edwards-Helaire drew draft night comparisons to another Reid RB in Brian Westbrook, due to his small size and versatility out of the backfield. Edwards-Helaire is certainly versatile out of the backfield as he racked up 453 receiving yards out of the backfield at LSU in his junior year. 

Playing behind the eventual Heisman winner Joe Burrow meant Edwards-Helaire was no stranger to prime time and attention being on him, which is something he will have to get used to in the NFL as well. And with Mahomes under center now that Edwards-Helaire has made the next step into the NFL, he is certainly used to playing with talented quarterbacks. Even while playing “second fiddle” to his talented QB, Edwards-Helaire found a way to let his talent shine through. Before the National Championship game, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables called Edwards-Helaire the “heart and soul of their (LSU) whole offense.” Strong praise from the opposition, before one of the biggest games of his life, just shows how valuable Edwards-Helaire was to his team. Edwards-Helaire described himself as “a miniature swiss army knife, whatever you need me to do, I’m there- no matter the situation.” This versatility will serve him well in a Kansas City offense with many other superstars on the field. Edwards-Helaire is going to have to find a way to let his talents shine through, which is something he’s been doing his entire life.

As a sophomore at LSU, Edwards-Helaire had a breakout game against fellow SEC rival Georgia, rushing for 145 yards and effectively putting himself on the map. This was a sure sign of things to come for the 5’8” budding star. In his junior season, he really turned things up a notch, rushing for over 100 yards in 7 of LSU’s 15 games, including a 103 yard rushing, 77 yard receiving and 4 TD day against the dynastic Alabama Crimson Tide who are known for being notoriously tough on opposing running backs. Edwards-Helaire really went off against Arkansas, carrying the ball only 6 times for 188 yards, averaging 31.3 yards a carry! And against Clemson in the National Championship game, Edwards-Helaire put up 110 yards rushing and 54 yard receiving day to help lead the Tigers to the victory, crowning them #1 in the land. Edwards-Helaire certainly doesn’t shy away from big games; in fact he seems to relish in them, which is exactly what the Chiefs need him to do in 2020.

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