By Bobby Mathews, sports editor
CLAY — Senior running back Ed Osley has been an explosive force on a Clay-Chalkville offense that has racked up no fewer than 40 points in every game so far during the 2021 season.
The Cougars have been blowing opponents out so regularly that Osley hasn’t been able to show the range of everything he can do. But against 6A Region 6 foe Gardendale, Osley carried the ball 27 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
“What makes Ed such a great player is his character,” Clay-Chalkville head coach Drew Gilmer said. “I mean, he’s just a top-notch person, first off, so that makes him so easy to coach. He’s a kid who comes to practice every day and works his butt off. He wants to be coached, and he’s a great teammate.”
Osley, the son of a truck driver and retail store manager, broke out in the first game of the season against Shades Valley with a 70-yard touchdown run in a 40-0 romp. He hasn’t looked back since.
“I watch a lot of running backs in the league (NFL) and college,” Osley said. “I just study them. I watch them every day, just try to make my craft better.”
During a conversation following a Monday afternoon practice in shoulder pads and helmets, Osley said he wants to pattern his game after running backs like former Auburn and L.A. Raiders great Bo Jackson.
“I try to run like him every time,” Osley said. “He always said ‘I’m always going to be the best on the field,’ and I feel like that’s just what I think about when I’m going into the game.”
In the second game of the season, against Hueytown, Osley rushed the ball 14 times for 141 yards. He ran for one touchdown and caught another.
Osley scored twice in the first quarter against Jasper as the Cougars racked up 68 points in a week 3 victory. His first touchdown tied the game after Jasper scored on a 95-yard opening kickoff return. The second one put the Cougars up, and then the points started to pile up. Osley only had nine carries in the game, and still piled up more than 100 yards and two scores.
But for a player who is so integral to the success of Clay-Chalkville, Osley is being recruited lightly. He has an offer from Samford, but none of the FBS offers like teammate Khalib Johnson (Louisville) and Marquarius White (Tennessee).
But Osley, as a running back who can both run the ball and who has the ability to either catch the ball out of the backfield or line up as a wideout, is just as integral to the success of the Cougars.
“To be honest with you, I think he’s one of the most underrated running backs or even players in the state, period,” Gilmer said. “I think a lot of these college coaches need to get off Twitter and off the internet and all that and come watch a football game.”
If that happens, Osley’s prospects of playing FBS ball will rise dramatically.