Former Conway High and University of South Carolina wide receiver Bryan Edwards will play in the National Football League.
Edwards was drafted late Friday night in the third round by the Las Vegas Raiders. He was the 81st player chosen in the 2020 draft.
“It’s crazy,” Edwards said from Spartanburg where he watched the virtual draft with family members, including his parents, Michelle and John Edwards, and his eight-month-old son Braxton.
“I’m excited,” Edwards said. “I can’t put it into words. It’s a dream come true. This was my goal since I was a kid. All I can do is thank God.”
Edwards is the grandson of former Myrtle Beach High School and Clemson defensive back Eddie Geathers.
Edwards planned to celebrate his selection with members of his family.
“I’ll just hang out with family and enjoy the moment,” he said. “That’s all you can do right now.”
Although he was chosen in the third round, Edwards described the process as a long wait. He said the next step will be meeting with the Raiders’ staff.
Conway High coach Carlton Terry believes Edwards will do well in the NFL.
“I think he’ll be a great NFL player because of his work ethic and character,” Terry said. “Bryan goes about things the right way in class, on the practice field, during a game and off the field.”
The one thing Terry will always remember about Edwards is his infectious smile.
Terry, who was an assistant coach under Chuck Jordan during Edwards’ days at Conway, is impressed with his ability to adjust to the ball in the air and come down with the football.
“As a coordinator, I always knew where Bryan was, and of course the opposition did, too,” Terry said. “In crunch time, Coach Jordan always said we have to get the ball to Bryan. We had five plays going into every game that Bryan would get touches. The ball was going to him regardless.”
Edwards played varsity football as a freshman and caught a touchdown pass for Conway when he was just 13 years old.
“He was playing against seniors and had some success,” Terry said.
Jordan realized Edwards was blessed with talent and potential early on.
“It didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize from an early age Bryan had a lot of talent,” Jordan said. “He did some things in ninth grade other kids couldn’t do. I think the question with talented players like Bryan was will they continue to work and improve and Bryan did. He has a great work ethic.”
Jordan said it’s rare for the most talented players on a team to be the hardest workers, and those who do are special.
“Bryan was one of our hardest workers and it had an impact on everyone else,” Jordan said.
Edwards also endeared himself to teammates and coaches by shunning the spotlight and praising others instead.
“I guess the thing about Bryan that’s so exciting is the kind of person he is,” Jordan said. “He’s going to be not only one of the most talented players on the roster, he also looks after his teammates.”
Edwards will be the fifth former Tiger to play in the NFL, following in the footsteps of Allen Patrick, Jonathon Sharpe, George Gause and Junior Hemingway.
“We’re proud because they came from Conway,” Terry said. “We’ve seen them grow from, as Coach Jordan would say, from young pups into grown Tigers. I just think Bryan is a very deserving kid. You like to see kids like Bryan get chances to realize his dreams because he’s such a great kid. He’s truly a role model for young kids.”
Edwards has fond memories of growing up in Conway and playing football for the Tigers.
“It’s my home,” he said. “I’m proud to be from there. I feel I’ll represent them well.”
Edwards also enjoyed a standout career with the Gamecocks, catching 234 passes for 3,045 yards and 22 touchdowns.
“I’m extremely proud,” he said. “That’s something that will always stick with me.”
“There’s a whole lot of people who would love to have the records he has,” Jordan said. “He ought to have a lot of pride in what he was able to accomplish at Carolina.”
Jordan believes Edwards has the tools to be successful in the NFL, especially if he finds himself in the right place at the right time.
“I hope Bryan will be in a situation where his specific skill set is needed because that’s a big thing,” Jordan said. “I will be very surprised if Bryan doesn’t do well because I know Bryan. Then again, there are so many variables that come into play. There are no guarantees.”