Af­ter catch­ing so­cial me­dia flak, USC re­ceiver avoids ‘out­side clutter’

The Sun News - - Front Page - BY JOSH KENDALL jk­endall@thes­tate.com

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 hear 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.”

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