Former Kent State student wins Super Bowl MVP

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Former Kent State student wins Super Bowl MVP

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It is no great secret that over the past two decades the New England Patriots have been the most successful team in the NFL.

With six Super Bowl victories in the past 18 years, it came as no surprise when they defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3 in last Sunday’s Super Bowl.

However, what many do not know is that Super Bowl-MVP wide-receiver Julian Edelman’s success can be linked to Ohio’s very own Kent State University.

Edelman grew up in Northern California, and enjoyed a successful athletics career. In high school, Edelman played quarterback, leading his team to 13-0 season, throwing 29 touchdowns and running for 13 more.

When college came, Edelman had the grades and the stats to be recruited to a Division I school, but no one seemed interested.

The reason, Doug Martin—Edelman’s head coach at Kent State in 2006– would later reveal, was because of his height. While most successful quarterbacks are six-foot-three or taller, Edelman stood at only five-foot-ten.  

Unnoticed by larger programs, Edelman eventually enrolled at a nearby junior college in San Mateo. Within his first game there, Coach Larry Owens made the decision to start him.

Within his first season he had rushed 1,253 yards, ran for 17 touchdowns and threw 14 more.

Still, he remained largely ignored by Division I scouts.

However, 2,480 miles away in northeast Ohio, Kent state football coach Doug Martin and his staff were mesmerized by Edelman’s film.

“The athleticism jumped right out,” Martin said. “He was a tremendous runner, one of those guys no one could tackle – even in a phone booth. He just had a way of breaking free.”

The year of Edelman’s arrival, Kent State was coming off of a devastating season, going 1-10 and losing to their major rivals, Akron, 35-3. They knew they needed a winner as soon as possible. They quickly made the decision to fly Edelman to Kent.

Though he had a few colleges looking at him as a defensive back, Edelman had his sights set on playing quarterback. Martin had a question mark for quarterback and thought Edelman might be the answer.

Not long after his visit, Edelman officially committed to Kent State.

In his final college season, he rushed for 13 touchdowns and 1,370 yards in 12 games, on top of an additional 13 touchdown passes.

In 2009 Edelman was picked up by the New England Patriots in the seventh round of the draft. He worked his way up to become an integral part of the Patriots offense and favorite target of quarterback Tom Brady.

In the Patriots Super Bowl victory over the Rams, Edelman finished with 10 catches and 141 yards, good for more than half of the Patriots receiving yards. He was awarded MVP (most valuable player) of the game.

To this day, Julian Edelman has not forgotten his roots. He maintains strong ties with his alma mater university in Kent.

“I learned so much from my time at Kent,” Edelman said. “The experiences I had there definitely helped shape me into the player and person I am today. I will always be grateful for the opportunity Coach Martin gave me and for the friends I met there.”