USC Gamecocks Football

Muschamp’s first impression goes a long way with Bryan Edwards

Bryan Edwards takes part last week in a signing ceremony for all of South Carolina’s midyear enrollees.
Bryan Edwards takes part last week in a signing ceremony for all of South Carolina’s midyear enrollees. gmelendez@thestate.com

Will Muschamp had Bryan Edwards at hello.

Muschamp, introduced Dec. 7 as South Carolina’s new coach, visited Edwards that night at his Conway home. It didn’t take long during that meeting for the wide receiver to know he would be a Gamecock, Edwards said.

“I always felt like I could call South Carolina home, even before Muschamp was hired,” he said. “When Steve Spurrier retired, it left a lot of uncertainty in me. As soon as Muchamp came to my house that night and told me I was a priority to them, he introduced himself to me and my family, and I was sold. That brought me back to my school.”

Edwards, who decommitted Nov. 19 from the Gamecocks, became Muschamp’s first USC pledge when he committed for a second and final time Dec. 15.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound four-star prospect was one of six recruits who enrolled in January at USC.

Edwards was one of the state’s top players this season until suffering a season-ending meniscus tear in his right knee in late October. Coaches are optimistic he’ll be ready to go a month from now when USC begins spring practice.

“I think they’re going to fully clear him in about two weeks,” Muschamp told 247Sports’ Kipp Adams this week in a radio interview. “We expect when we start spring for him to be full speed. He looks really good. He’s a long guy that can finish down the field. He’s got good vertical speed. He could’ve gone anywhere in the country and he decided to stay at the state school here in South Carolina.”

Edwards caught 53 passes for 969 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior. He finished his high school career with 188 catches for 2,562 yards and 32 touchdowns.

Some schools, including Clemson, recruited Edwards for defense.

“Receiver is something I always wanted to do,” he said. “That was my goal, to play receiver in college. I knew I could play safety. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind, but I wanted to play receiver.”

Edwards competed last summer at The Opening in Oregon and was a finalist this past season for the state’s Mr. Football award. He was named to the Shrine Bowl roster and U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The knee injury kept him from playing in those games, though he was able to fly to San Antonio, Tex., to take part in the U.S. Army game off-field activities.

On that Dec. 7 day in the Edwards family living room, Muschamp shared his plans and goals for the Gamecocks. Edwards took his official visit to USC that weekend and committed a few days later.

“It excites me a lot because I’m that first class and I was his first commitment,” he said. “They preached ‘new era’ and ‘Come here and be a part of something special.’ We all want to put the right foot forward and be a part of building this program back to what it used to be.”

USC’s wide receiver class

Coach Will Muschamp’s evaluations of each wide receiver on signing day:

Korey Banks Jr.

5-11, 173; Tyrone, Ga. (Sandy Creek)

“He comes from a great program, and he has good top-end speed. He’s a guy that can really challenge people vertically down the field.”

WR Randrecous “Dreke” Davis

5-10, 173; Atlanta (Mays)

“He can change the game when the ball is in his hands. He’s special as a returner and a receiver, and he can play in the slot and outside.”

Chavis Dawkins

6-2, 200; Duncan, S.C. (Byrnes)

“He’s another big receiver that knows about winning. He knows what to do to be successful.”

Bryan Edwards

6-3, 200; Conway, S.C. (Conway)

“He can vertically stretch the field and he is another bigger receiver. We certainly will need him.”

Kiel Pollard

6-0, 232; Moultrie, Ga. (Colquitt County)

“He’s another guy that comes from a winning program. He’s a competitive guy that can play in the slot and on the edge.”

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