At 6'3" and 295 pounds, Viking Offensive Lineman Cornelius Edison is by far the biggest person in his Graphics Design classes at Portland State.
The post-football goal of this year's recipient of the Pokey Allen Endowed Scholarship is a design job dealing with sports with a firm like Nike or Adidas. And he's well on his way, on track to graduate next year.
With this size, he's also been a stalwart on a very good offensive line, starting every game his sophomore and junior seasons. Last season, he earned 3rd team All-Big Sky Conference honors.
But, Edison is far from satisfied, at least with the Vikings' performance on the field.
While he felt he had a pretty good year, "last year, we had ups and downs as a team. We needed to stay more consistent," he said.
Edison was part of an offensive line that led the offense to numerous season records: season rushing yards (3,330), per game rushing average (277.7), total offense (6,468), per game offense average (540.5) and rushing touchdown (36). In fact, the Vikings ranked third in the nation in rushing and total offense and allowed only 10 sacks in 365 passes attempted.
His personal goal was to allow zero sacks per game and thinks he ended up allowing "maybe half a sack". He also wanted to be named first team all-conference.
Don't take that wrong, he cautioned, "my personal accomplishment isn't as important as what happens on the team. My goal is to protect the quarterback and help with the run game."
Both he and Offensive Coordinator Bruce Barnum agree that his mental game improved last season.
Edison believes that he "improved mentally a lot. As a sophomore, I was thinking too much about what I needed to do. This year, it became more intuitive. I had a better idea of what the defense was going to do. I studied more film and got better at getting to know the opponent."
"He got more confident this year," agreed Barnum. "We started him as a freshman, then redshirted him. His leadership was apparent this year. I think (center) Mitch Gaulke helped mold him. He plays with a confidence some guys don't show," Barnum said.
A highlight for Edison last season was blocking a guy almost to the sidelines (he thinks, but isn't sure, that was in the Sacramento State game). "I want to do whatever it takes to beat my man. That's a combination of quickness and strength. You want to be first to the point of contact, then have the strength to move the defender," Edison said.
To ensure he can do that, Edison is spending the summer in the weight room.
"I want to improve my upper body strength and get better at foot work…faster and quicker. I'm also working on my flexibility to allow my body to get into different positions than it's used to," he said.
And, he'll need all of that if he's to meet his goals for next year---win the Big Sky championship, move on to the playoffs and get into the national championship game.
He'll be one of only two seniors on a fairly young (but experienced) offensive line next season and feels the need to improve his leadership skills.
"Although they already have some experience, we'll have only two seniors on the offensive line, so we'll have to step up and help the younger guys," Edison said.
And Barnum thinks that's going to happen.
"He's already doing what I need him to do next year. We need him to be a team leader, not just a position leader. The offense looks to him with a different type of respect. He's a guy who guys can turn to for guidance and he's doing that," said Barnum.
Along the way, Edison wants "to have our line be the best in the country in rushing offense and sacks allowed."…and, by the way, he still wants to be named to a BSC first team all-conference.
This is the fifth in a series of stories on Portland State student-athletes who've earned Endowed Scholarships. For all the stories, click on the FEATURES link just above the Viking Vision video box at GoViks.com.