South Carolina: Bryan Edwards on playing faster in 2019, potential Deebo replacement
Will Muschamp expects South Carolina wide receiver Bryan Edwards of Conway to own every significant Gamecock career receiving record by the end of the 2019 season.
So said the University of South Carolina football coach Wednesday at The Dunes Golf and Beach Club during a visit to Myrtle Beach for the Gamecock Club Spurs Up Tour.
“Bryan should walk away this year with every record in receiving at the University of South Carolina, and you just think of some of the great players we’ve had here and what he’s accomplished,” Muschamp told a room of Gamecock supporters.
Edwards has been a starter since he first stepped on the Columbia campus, with 37 starts in 38 contests beginning his true freshman season.
After posting seasons of 590, 793 and 846 yards, his career total of 2,229 is sixth on the school’s all-time list, and 813 behind the all-time record of 3,042 held by Alshon Jeffery. He should pass three players in receiving yards early in the season including Sidney Rice and Sterling Sharpe.
He’s also seven receiving touchdowns short of the program career record of 23 held by Rice and Jeffery, and 44 catches shy of the school record of 207 held by Kenny McKinley.
CBS had projected him as a top-90 prospect in the 2019 draft, but Edwards chose to return to USC.
“Bryan had a tough decision about coming out and not really sure about what he wants to do, and he just made a really mature, smart decision to improve his situation,” Muschamp said. “He’s going to graduate in December. We’re really proud of Bryan and what he’s accomplished at South Carolina. I can’t wait to watch his senior year.”
Muschamp considers Edwards one of the team’s leaders. “Bryan is as good a young man as you’ll ever meet,” Muschamp said. “You’re talking about a guy who represents the University of South Carolina in a first-class manner.”
The sturdy, 6-foot-3 receiver has been a jump-ball specialist and should help cushion the blow of losing talented receiver and kick returner Deebo Samuel to the NFL.
Edwards stepped into the No. 1 role as a sophomore when Samuel was hurt and he joins 2018 No. 3 receiver Shi Smith among USC wideouts.
Edwards said during a media interview last month that Smith, though smaller, may be able to provide some of the threats Samuel presented to defenses.
“Deebo is kind of his own person because of how much he weighed and the size of him,” Edwards said, “but as far as vertical threat and pure speed and with the ball in his hands and playmaking ability, I can see him doing some of the same things Deebo did.”
Edwards was one of three USC players with big decisions to make regarding the NFL and all three including offensive lineman Donell Stanley and quarterback Jake Bentley announced their returns.
They will be some of the key players in the second year of offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon’s up-tempo offense. “We should be able to go even faster than we did last year,” Edwards said.
The Gamecocks have another pair of players from the Grand Strand in redshirt sophomore tight end Caleb Jenerette of Aynor and redshirt sophomore linebacker Sean McGonigal of Myrtle Beach.
As of now, Muschamp said both will have to make an impact on special teams before they’ll have a chance at their positions, and more evaluation will occur in August.
“Both Caleb and Sean are needed on special teams,” Muschamp said. “We’re going to give them an opportunity and both guys are extremely hard workers, have a great work ethic, and their ticket to get on the bus is going to be on special teams.”