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GSU's Mr. Consistent

GSU's Mr. Consistent

GSU's Mr. Consistent

Georgia Southern punter Charlie Edwar...

    Charlie Edwards doesn’t rattle easily. For that matter he simply doesn’t get rattled.
    “Charlie’s not squirrely like a lot of kickers,” Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken said. “A lot of those guys worry about if the socks they’re wearing match. They’ll let the least little thing bother them.
    “Charlie’s not like that. He’s a loose kid. He just goes out and does his job. He’s having a great year for us. I’m going to nominate him for All America.”
    Edwards is the Eagles’ punter, and he happens to be one of the best in the business.
     He proved his mettle in his first college game on his very first punt.
    Playing before 92,476 at a sold out Samford Stadium on August 30, 2008, the freshman from Tipton boomed a 55 yarder against the Bulldogs. He’s never looked back.
    Now a junior, Edwards is leading the Southern Conference in punting with an average of 42.2 yards per game, and that is also good enough to rank him 12th nationally.
    The more accurate measure of a punter is net punting average. This is where Edwards truly shines. Of his 31 punts this season only nine have been returned for a total of 30 yards.
    Navy returned four for 31yards, Coastal Carolina had two returns for minus seven, and The Citadel returned three for six yards.
    The point of no return is not due to Edwards kicking the ball into the end zone. Only two of his kicks this season have resulted in touch backs.
    With a net punt average of 39.94 yards per kick the Eagle standout is second nationally only to Eastern Kentucky’s Jordan Berry whose net punt average is 40.48 yards per kick.
    He’s our best offensive weapon,” Monken said. “He’s gotten us out of a lot of trouble. Against Samford he had two inside the five and one inside the 10. And, they’re kicks that don’t have to be downed.
    “He had two at The Citadel inside the five,” Monken said. “He’s have a great kicking year.”
    Edwards still remembers that first game at Georgia.
     “I was very nervous,” said Edwards of his debut against the Bulldogs, a team that, like most Georgia youngsters, he dreamed of playing for. “I was okay after the first kick.
    “Now, I just get anxious,” Edwards said. “After I hit the first one I calm down.”
    Monken, like his mentor Paul Johnson, hates the thought having to punt.             Edwards said before the season Monken told him he never wanted to see him on the field. Edwards had no problem with that.
    He would prefer limited duty, too.
    “I would like to go on the field to just hold,” said Edwards who is Adrian Mora’s holder on field goal and extra point attempts. “That means we’ve scored.”
    But, if he has to punt then he wants to be make sure the Eagles get his best effort.
    “I like to think I’ve been consistent,” said Edwards who is solid with a strong leg at 5-foot-11, 210 pounds. “The big thing is having the guys on the team care as much as you do.
    “The guys do, and they inspire me to do the best I can. If I let them down that’s not a good feeling.”
    Edwards has had five punts this season 50 yards or longer, the longest being a 57-yarder at The Citadel. His career long is 68 yards last season at Appalachian State, the team the Eagles will be facing Saturday at 2 p.m. at Paulson Stadium.
    Edwards gives a great deal of credit to his snapper, Carter Jones, and his blockers, especially the front three.
    “A big key is getting the ball in the right spot and Carter is absolutely great,” Edwards said. “Those three guys in front of me…they take a beating because they have to stand there and get hit by a guy who has a six yard head start.”
     On 135 punts covering 5,425 yards, slightly more than three miles, Edwards has had only punt blocked. That came two years ago at The Citadel.
    Edwards also has a deep appreciation for the fan support the Eagles get at Paulson and on the road.
     “If I can say anything it would be to thank the fans for their support,” Edwards said. “They cheer for us every game, and they’re a real big key to what we do.”

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