If you are watching a football game at Whittier Field, you will likely see running back Andre Eden ’24 charging through a storm of defenders and bringing the crowd to its feet. In his first official season of college football, Eden provided a much-needed jolt of energy to the Polar Bears’ offense.
Eden finished his rookie season with over 1,000 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns. His 978 rushing yards—139 more than any other runner in the conference—led the NESCAC. For his performance, Eden became the first Bowdoin football player to win the NESCAC Rookie of the Year Award and the first Bowdoin running back to be named to the All-Conference First Team.
Head Coach BJ Hammer attributes Eden’s immediate impact on the team to his work ethic during the offseason.
“Andre is a really hard worker. He really worked his butt off in the weight room and did everything he could do when we were here with him [in the fall of 2020],” Hammer said. “When he went home [in the spring], he worked his butt off there and came into camp in great shape, and it showed.”
Hammer also believes that Eden’s experience playing high school football at an elite program—Brophy College Preparatory School in Phoenix, Arizona—helped prepare him for the rapid pace of college football.
“[Brophy College Preparatory School] plays at a really high level of competition, which helped develop [Eden’s] vision.” Hammer said. “The speed of the game [in college] is faster, and you have to be able to take that vision that you have, those good instincts, and read the field.”
On his side, Eden emphasized that his accolades were the result of the entire team working together to put him in optimal positions to score.
“My lineman blocked super hard every play, and there were always my quarterback, my wide receivers and my tight ends. They all do everything they can to open up opportunities for me to do what I want to do,” Eden said.
Despite his decorated rookie campaign, Eden was quick to recognize that he and the team need to improve heading into next season.
“We have to take our mistakes and losses and let them build up inside of us,” Eden said. “I think we just have to use those feelings as motivation in our lifts and workouts to help us get better every day this off-season and come away with the wins we want next season.”
Hammer noted that Eden still has room to grow and further improve, as he is such a young player.
“He can get immensely better, but he did a great job for a guy playing his first year of college football,” Hammer said. “I think he is probably his biggest critic and will learn from the little mistakes he made.”
Heading into his junior campaign, Eden will be looked upon to help lead the Polar Bears. Hammer believes he is a perfect fit for the role.
“[Eden] is going to have to lead by example with his attitude and work ethic. He has done that his entire time that I’ve been around and known him, so that’s what I expect him to do,” Hammer said. “He will just have a few more eyes on him being a good football player, but he wants that and will thrive in that situation.”
After a year that saw the Polar Bears record their first win since 2018 and brought a newfound sense of promise to the program, Eden and the rest of the team are expected to build off their victory this season and continue their positive trajectory into next year.
“We have a great foundation set, and we are going to build off of it with more recruits. We are going to keep getting these guys better for next football season,” Hammer said.