Edwards' Michigan legacy secure
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- When Braylon Edwards won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's best receiver, the senior was asked if he thought he was Michigan's best receiver ever.
Edwards said he was.
It's hard to argue with him, though it's difficult to compare him with Anthony Carter, who played more than 20 years ago when coach Bo Schembechler rarely chose to pass.
Edwards, the first Wolverine to win the Biletnikoff Award, set single-season school records with 87 receptions for 1,221 yards receiving this year.
With 12 receiving touchdowns for Michigan, his career total of 36 trails only Carter's Big Ten record by one. Edwards already has broken Carter's school marks with 242 catches and 3,432 yards receiving.
He also owns Michigan records with three receptions in 37 straight games, an active streak heading into the Rose Bowl against Texas, and 16 100-yard receiving games. And, he's the first Big Ten player with three 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
"I think my legacy is pretty much complete," Edwards said. "I think I've done everything I wanted to do, and we've accomplished everything as a team. The one thing now is to win the Rose Bowl. That would be the finishing touch."
Edwards is blessed with a 6-foot-3, 206-pound body, sprinter's speed and the ability to outjump defensive backs for the football -- or rip it away from them with brute strength.
"He just goes over defenders and grabs touchdowns," Texas safety Phillip Geiggar said. "It looks like a lot of people had him in single coverage. I don't think you can do that."
Michigan State found that out this season.
Edwards caught two TD passes late in the fourth quarter to help Michigan erase a 17-point deficit in just 5:44, and grabbed a third TD in the third overtime to beat the Spartans.
"It was something special," he said. "They'll show that for 20, 30 years, and I'll be able to show my kids."
The Longhorns held Oklahoma's Mark Clayton, the best receiver they faced, to just three receptions for 19 yards this season.
"I think Texas definitely has the ability to match us and play good ball," Edwards said. "It's going to be a good one."
Texas assistant coach Greg Robinson said it will be tough to slow down Edwards because he already looks and plays like a professional receiver.
"He'll walk in the NFL and help somebody right away," Robinson said.
Edwards could have turned pro last season, but chose to return for another season of college football and to graduate.
"To be honest, I can't believe it's over," he said. "In terms of this being my last game, I've thought about it a little bit. After I leave the field on January 1st, I'll never be able to put this jersey and this helmet on again, unless I play in the Senior Bowl. I have great memories, but I've put it all on the back burner and have tried to just think about the game at hand."
Edwards butted heads with Michigan coach Lloyd Carr in the past because of his loquacious ways, occasional tardiness and a cell phone that rang during a team meeting when he was a freshman, a mistake that still bothers Edwards.
But Carr and Edwards got along just fine this season, and the coach didn't hesitate to praise his star receiver.
"Braylon certainly has had a great career," Carr said. "I'm extremely proud of what he's done this season and the leadership that he's given our team and the example that he's set on the field. He's certainly one of the great football players we've had at Michigan. I don't think there's any doubt about that."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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