Michigan Wolverines running back Donovan Edwards is the son of Kevin Edwards and Donna Edwards. His mother died of cancer when he was 2, according to the Detroit Free Press. His father is an educator. He also has an older brother, Kevin Jr.
Edwards was looking for a “family feel” when he picked the University of Michigan after starring at West Bloomfield High School in the Wolverine State, according to 24-7 Sports. His father told the recruiting website in 2020, “His professionalism, his poise, his patience, how he’s being patient going through the process. Just how he’s communicating with the college coaches and he’s been doing it since he was 15.”
Kevin Edwards Sr. added, “He’s always had to have that mature role with him losing his mom at two-years old. He had to mature and he’s been doing a great job. That’s why he’s been very patient about making sure he gets to the right school. He wants to get to a school where they treat him like family. Even in seventh and eighth grade at West Bloomfield they were like you’re coming here because you’re family, you’re from the area, even though he had the opportunities to go to different private schools he chose to go to West Bloomfield because it was that family atmosphere.”
Here’s what you need to know about Donovan Edwards’ family:
1. Donovan Edwards Says He Is Driven by Honoring His Mother
Edwards’ mom, Donna Primas Edwards, who was a teacher, died of breast cancer when he was 2. “I relied on my dad to tell me about her,” he told the Detroit Free Press in 2018. He added, “She wanted us to do the right things. I think about her all the time. I do things because I want her to be proud of me. It’s tough not having her around.”
Edwards said during the Fiesta Bowl media day he turns to his faith when thinking about his mom, according to the Maize & Blue Review, “God does everything for a reason. He does everything for a reason. I’m not upset that I don’t have a mother anymore. All it’s done is sharpen me now.”
Edwards added, “All that’s done is just made me tougher and made me more faithful to God because I know that he wouldn’t take away my mom if I needed her. Everything is all God’s plan. I’m always smiling every time I praise God. I’m thankful you brought that up. God does everything for a reason.”
2. Donovan Edwards’ Father, Kevin Edwards Sr., Is an Assistant Principal in Detroit & Raised Donovan & His Brother as a Single Dad
Donovan Edwards’ dad, Kevin Edwards Sr., is an assistant principal in the Detroit school system. He works at the Detroit Lions Academy, according to the school’s website.
Kevin Edwards, who raised his two sons as a single dad, told 24-7 Sports, “You got to understand being a widowed dad, that’s all I knew was sport. I knew nature, sports, ATV riding, fishing. I tried to do my nurturing part as much as possible but with me being a male I’m more nature. Let’s go to the soccer field, let’s do football, let’s do basketball, let’s do baseball, let’s do track and he ended up breaking records in three events in middle school.”
Edwards said at media day about his father, according to the Maize & Blue Review, “My dad is the man. There’s not too many people in the past generation that would step up as a single father. I love females, I love mothers. But for fathers, for them to be able to step up as a single parent and to do what he has done for my brother and I, I respect my dad for everything he’s given me.”
3. Edwards’ Grandfather, Charlie Primas Jr., Was a Harlem Globetrotter
Donovan Edwards’ grandfather, his mother’s father, was a basketball star in Michigan and was a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, according to the Detroit Free Press. Charlie Primas Jr. died in 2020, the newspaper reported.
Primas, like his daughter and son-in-law, was an educator, working for the Detroit Public Schools for 40 years, retiring as a principal, according to the Free Press. He was also a deacon and Sunday school teacher, Reverend April Hearn said during her eulogy, according to the Free Press, “He broke basketball records, he played for the Globetrotters and traveled the world and rubbed elbows with some of the most famous people who ever lived. Here was a man, well-respected and admired as a academic administrator and yet he didn’t boast about who he was. He didn’t boast about his accomplishments. Because he knew, only God satisfies.”
According to Wayne State University, Primas grew up in Detroit and was an All-American at Wayne State. He is now in the school’s hall of fame.
“Primas held the WSU season (466 points) and career scoring records (1,270 points) until the early 1970s. He still holds the Wayne State career records for free throws made (464) and attempted (705), while ranking second in career rebounds (1,034). Primas was the school’s first 1,000-point scorer and only one of two players in 102 years of WSU basketball to get at least 1,000 rebounds,” Wayne State wrote after his January 2020 death.
4. Edwards Has a ‘Proud Uncle’ in Michigan Wolverines Coach Ron Bellamy, Who Has Known Him Since He Was a Kid
Edwards also has another role model in his high school football coach, Ron Bellamy, who was a family friend and helped Kevin Edwards raise Donovan and Kevin Jr., according to the Detroit Free-Press. Bellamy, who played at Michigan from 1999 to 2002 as a wide receiver and joined the Wolverines’ coaching staff in 2021, said Edwards is “like a son” to him, the newspaper wrote.
“A single father trying to do everything. I just tried to be a piece of the puzzle for his dad, take something off his plate and be a mentor to him,” he told the Free-Press. Edwards added, “He would be on me man, he would give me tough love, like prepare me for the future. The reason I’m so successful is a huge part to coach Bell. I wanted to play receiver going into high school and then at the next level my whole career, but he saw the vision for me and knew I’d be a running back.”
After Edwards’ first touchdown with Michigan in 2021, Bellamy told reporters, “I’m not going to lie, I felt like a proud uncle. Donovan and I … I’ve known him since the third grade and we have such a strong bond and relationship. … He’s a special talent. … Donovan is going to keep growing and developing. But it was awesome just watching him get in the endzone. It’s special for me, with our relationship.”
5. Donovan Edwards Is Not Related to Michigan Wolverines Great Braylon Edwards
While they share the same last name, Donovan Edwards is not related to former Michigan Wolverines star wide receiver Braylon Edwards. The Edwards name is a familiar one for University of Michigan fans. Braylon Edwards, a Wolverine from 2001 to 2004, followed in the footsteps of his father, Stan Edwards, who was a star running back at Michigan from 1977 to 1982.
For Michigan fans, it’s a great thing that there’s another Edwards shining on the field. His coach, Jim Harbaugh, said Edwards saved the Wolverines season after star running back Blake Corum was injured.
Harbaugh told the Detroit Free-Press, “We lost a lot with Blake Corum. There was a whole one-two punch that we had with Blake, but I think Blake is so great that when Donovan was out, Blake took it all on his shoulders. With Blake out, Donovan has been able to take two games pretty much all on his shoulders. That saved us, that saved our team, only because they’re two great players capble of doing that.”