Josh Kendall

The lesson Bryan Edwards has learned dealing with fan frustration this year

Social media has been great to South Carolina wide receiver Bryan Edwards this week. His one-handed, 75-yard touchdown catch against Ole Miss has circulated across the country’s digital highlight reels and drawn adoring oohs and ahs.

“I watched it a couple times,” Edwards admitted this week. “Social media is kind of buzzing about it so I’ve watched it a good amount.”

That’s been the fun side of social media for Edwards this season, but there has been another side. After he struggled with dropped passes earlier in the season, some Gamecocks fans or at least Gamecocks observers let him here about it in unpleasant ways.

“Honestly, it has really taught me a lesson,” Edwards said. “Eliminate the clutter, control what you can control. You don’t go out there thinking, ‘I’m going to make one-handed catches,’ or ‘I’m going to drop easy touchdowns.’ Just focus on what you can control. Eliminate the outside clutter.”

On Oct. 30, Edwards retweeted a comment from a fan, who had posted a GIF of Edwards’ shrugging along with the phrase, “After dropping your 50th pass of the game.” Edwards response: “relax.” Edwards retweeted the exchange after the Ole Miss game, saying, “Like I said just relax.”

“You can’t take everything you see to heart,” Edwards said. “You have to laugh at yourself sometime.”

Frustration from fans is something new for Edwards. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior has had a virtually flawless career to this point. If he stays for his senior season and continues at his current career pace, Edwards will finish his South Carolina career as the school’s all-time leader in receptions, tied for the touchdowns catches record and second in career receiving yardage.

Despite this year’s struggles, he leads the Gamecocks in receiving yards with 556 on 35 catches. His six touchdowns are a team-high. In his career, he has 143 catches for 1,939 yards and 15 touchdowns.

“In the past I really didn’t deal with a lot of drops so I really didn’t face a lot of it,” he said. “When it happened I learned to (block out) those things. It has helped me play a lot better.”