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Edwards legacy continues to grow with Ball State

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For more on college football, follow Tom Davis via Twitter at www.twitter.com/Tom101010.

Cardinal runner one of five named to lead 2014 squad

Saturday, May 3, 2014 - 7:23 am

Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said that “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” In regards to Ball State running back Jahwan Edwards, that quote is apropos.

The Cardinal senior received an opportunity from Ball State three years ago when no other FBS level football program believed in the North Carolina native, and Edwards hasn’t just made a “living” during his time in Muncie, he’s in the process of creating a legacy by demonstrating leadership and production that few ever envisioned from him coming out of high school.

Edwards joined teammates Ben Ingle, Brian Jones, Nick Miles and Jacob Richard Friday as being named captains for the 2014 Cardinal squad.

“We discuss leadership with the entire team and the player’s leadership council on an ongoing basis,” fourth-year Ball State coach Pete Lembo said in a release. “As far back as the start of the spring semester, I asked the players, assistant coaches and support staff to consider who our most visible leaders should be for the 2014 season. I greatly appreciate all the consideration they put into this important decision."

Upon his arrival on campus, Edwards made an immediate impact with the Cardinals. He started seven games as a true freshman and was named as the recipient of the John Hodge Award, which honors Ball State’s most outstanding freshman.

Edwards has rushed for more touchdowns than any player in program history and is the sixth back to run for more than 3,000 yards. Following last season, he was named to the All-Mid-American Conference Second Team.

Ingle joined Edwards on that league honor squad after starting 11 games as a sophomore and recording nearly 130 tackles in his first two seasons.

Jones started 12 games in 2013, which added to his 18 career starts through his first three seasons. The senior safety had a career high 13 tackles vs. Toledo and has managed 164 in his career.

As a defensive end, Miles started 12 games last season and managed 42 tackles with five sacks a year ago. He had a couple of memorable achievements last season, as he got his first career fumble recovery at Akron and his first career blocked kick at Eastern Michigan.

Richard followed a circuitous path to the top of the Ball State roster.

After graduating from Weston (Conn.) High School, he spent a year in prep school before walking on with the Cardinals. Though diligence, Richard ascended to earning a 2013 All-MAC Third Team selection after starting 12 games last season.

“We have had some excellent captains the last three seasons and I am sure this group will meet the high expectations that have been established,” Lembo said.

The Cardinal coach has become notorious for making decisions in an “outside the box” manner and the naming of captains in May follows Lembo’s reputation.

“It has been very beneficial to have our captains in place prior to the start of summer workouts,” Lembo said.” This gives them an opportunity to work closely with strength coach Dave Feeley and allows them to take ownership of the team before preseason camp begins. It is also important our new players have some veteran leaders to connect with when they arrive for the bridge program in the second summer session.”

Former Cardinals honored

As Lembo mentioned, Ball State has had great leadership in its recent teams and some of those special student athletes were honored recently for their efforts and exploits.

Former Ball State players Joel Cox, Zane Fakes, Joseph Fazio and Connor Ryan were each selected to the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame 2014 Honor Society.

The honor is awarded to college football players from all divisions who maintained a cumulative 3.2 grade-point average or better, were a starter or significant contributor and completed their final year of eligibility.

Cox completed his career by starting all 13 games at defensive tackle for the Cardinals and recorded his sixth career blocked kick in 2013 when he blocked an extra point attempt at Eastern Michigan. Off of the field, Cox owned a 3.593 GPA on Ball State’s 4.0 scale as a business major.

Fakes was nothing less than spectacular in every way during his Cardinal career.

The tight end earned his bachelor’s degree prior to the 2013 season and spent last season working toward a master’s degree. He was a Campbell Trophy Semifinalist as the NFF’s top scholar-athlete in football, as well as a 2013 Capital One Academic All-American.

Fakes earned Academic All-Mid-American Conference and All-MAC honors his last two seasons. He started 40 games in his career and was on the 2013 John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List. Fakes completed his career with a 3.687 GPA in graduate school.

Fazio owned a 3.769 GPA as a finance major and received the team’s Gene Booker Academic Award. He played in 13 games, as well as played in every game in his last two seasons at Ball State.

Ryan owned a 3.384 GPA as a financial analysis major and finished his career by playing in 12 games for the Cardinals last season. He caught 78 passes in his career for 669 yards and five touchdowns, which spanned 42 games. He was a two-time team captain.

Fort Wayne family recognized

The Ball State University board of trustees honored Fort Wayne’s Ronald E. and Joan M. Venderly Friday with the naming of the newly-constructed football complex in their honor.

The Ronald E. and Joan M. Venderly Football Team Complex will get under construction this summer and will connect to the current Fisher Football Training Complex.

The new facility will house meeting space for the Cardinal football program, as well as offices for the Ball State coaches and support staff.