Pitt once added a physical walk-on known as a pushing runner, a brute in the weight room and a diamond in the rough. His name was George Aston. The overlooked walk-on from Stephens City, VA quickly earned a scholarship, locked down his role as starting fullback and developed into a team leader.
Pitt recently landed a walk-on fullback with many similarities to Aston. His name is Jason ‘Truck’ Edwards from Bluefield High School in Bluefield, WV. The 5-foot-11 inch, 232 pound fullback visited Pitt on March 15th and decided to accept a preferred walk-on opportunity.
“I started talking with Pitt towards the end of the season. Right after my state championship game,” said Edwards. “I sent my highlight film to Pitt to see if I would get a reaction or hear back from them. I ended up receiving an e-mail from (Director of Player Personnel) Graham Wilbert. He told me he loved my film and asked me if I would be interested in being a preferred walk-on.”
Edwards was a two-way starter for Bluefield High School. He predominantly played fullback and linebacker. Truck rushed for 1,154 yards (averaged 13.6 yards per carry), scored 27 touchdowns and amassed 130 tackles his senior season. He bench presses 340 pounds and squats 570 pounds.
When asked how he received his interesting nickname ‘Truck’, he stated, “It was actually a childhood name. As a kid, I used to play football and run over everyone in my age group. I just ran everyone over. All of the coaches were like, ‘We need to give this kid a nickname.’ They thought Truck would be a perfect fit for me. They started calling me Truck throughout my childhood after that.”
If Panther fans need further proof of Truck’s physicality, they simply can watch one of his plays that made the ESPN Sports Center Top 10 plays of the week. Bluefield High School has the ball on the opponent’s 10 yards line hoping to tie the score. They hand the ball off to Truck and he proceeds to mimic the comic book super villain ‘The Juggernaut’. Truck decimates seven defenders, making his way into the end zone for a touchdown.
Pitt running backs coach Andre Powell is hoping that Truck can live up to his lofty nickname. “Coach Powell really likes me at fullback. When I attended practice, I like the way things are played [at Pitt],” he said. “It’s a little different from my high school but I can really adjust to play there.”
Truck was asked about his strengths as a fullback and he stated, “I’m definitely a strong downhill runner. I like running over linebackers and defenders in general. I just love running through defenders. That’s my biggest strength. When I break a run free on a run, it’s hard to catch me.”
Truck had a dominant senior season but only received tepid interest from most Division I schools. He was asked if he believes he was greatly overlooked in the recruiting process. “Yes, definitely I would agree with that. Bluefield, WV is in the southern part of West Virginia,” he said. “A lot of coaches really don’t want to work here and most don’t look for talent here. I can assure you there’s plenty of talent here if they just look for it. Yes, I do believe my location held me back from receiving offers.”
Truck was asked what he will do to prepare for his initial season with the Panthers. He responded, “Around here we really don’t have any personal trainers or anything like that so I’ll be lifting and running on my own. I go to the field when I can and do running back drills, footwork drills, ladders and cones. I’ll be staying in the weight room trying to improve my strength as well. I don’t want to gain too much weight. I weigh 232 pounds right now and I would like get to Pitt weighing 235 pounds. I think I’m good right there.”
“I feel great about my decision to join Pitt. I can’t wait to get up there.”
Harry Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru