A long, winding road to success for LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Published: Dec. 5, 2019 at 7:06 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the hometown kid living the big-time college football dream.

He is a star player on an LSU team racing towards one of the most special years in the history of the program.

He’s scoring touchdowns and piling up big numbers. But to reach these happy moments, Clyde and his family have been through their share of adversity and very emotional experiences.

LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire
LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire(Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV (custom credit) | WAFB)

Clydrick Edwards was born April 11, 1999, to mother Tonge and father Clyde and while one new life was beginning, another was heading down the wrong path.

Clyde did his very best to maintain a relationship with his son. But the circumstances obviously made things very challenging.

Shortly after Clyde went to prison, Tonge met Shannon Helaire. They would eventually marry and it was immediately apparent Shannon was there to be a husband and a father.

During Clydrick’s sophomore year at Catholic High, the first of two name changes. Then to honor the stepfather who raised him, Helaire was added.

Because of good behavior, Clyde Edwards serving roughly half of his 30-year sentence. Now the question was, how would Edwards and Helaire mesh? How would the family get along?

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During his sophomore season in 2018, Edwards-Helaire began to show he was someone LSU could count on in big games.

At home against number two ranked Georgia, he ran wild for 145 yards in a 20-point victory.

LSU was on its way to its biggest bowl game in nearly a decade.

But on December 22, 2018, as the Tigers were preparing for UCF and the Fiesta Bowl, an event drove Clyde’s family into mass panic.

Police say a male was killed in a Saturday afternoon shooting on 68th Avenue near Village Street.
Police say a male was killed in a Saturday afternoon shooting on 68th Avenue near Village Street.(WAFB)

Clyde, along with an LSU teammate had driven to meet an 18-year old, to sell him an electronic device.

The transaction would take a terrible turn. The young man that came to meet Helaire attempted to rob them and was fatally shot.

Police ruled that justifiable force was used.

There was certainly plenty of doubt concerning Clyde playing in a football game so soon. But for Tonge Helaire, there was little doubt at all.

Clyde would return the opening kickoff 77 yards, as LSU rolled over UCF and finished ranked sixth in the country.

And the following spring would likewise bring the fresh air of something new. LSU was finally changing their offense. And Clyde Edwards-Helaire was all aboard.

RELATED: LSU QB Joe Burrow, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire named to Maxwell Award Watch List; Burrow also named to O’Brien Award Watch List

During this season, the bigger the game, the better Edwards-Helaire seems to play. Whether it was at Texas, or at home against Florida or Auburn.

But the skeptics, some would say the haters, kept repeating the same lines all year.

“Let’s see you do it against Alabama. You won’t do it against Alabama.”

There was obviously no need for any extra motivation for Clyde and LSU. But recalling Nick Saban's recruitment of Edwards-Helaire out of high school provided the final bit of fuel.

So with 101,000 Bryant-Denny Stadium, including the President of the United States, along with another 20 million watching on CBS, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, on the biggest stage of his life, delivered his most inspired performance.

180 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns, as LSU finally slew the dragon and beat the Alabama Crimson Tide on Nov. 9.

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