Speedster Anxious To Show What He Can Do

Bruce Edwards is hoping to show the coaching staff he's ready for the big time.

Auburn, Ala.--Could the smallest of the incoming freshmen for the Class of 2003 be one of the players with the biggest impact before the season is finished? A speedster with moves, hands and the speed to outrun defenders, 5-9 163 Bruce Edwards from Columbus, Miss., is a freshman given a look at both inside receiver and kick returner this fall.

While that would make many players nervous, that's not the case with Edwards. A one-man show for his high school team last season, Edwards knows what it's like to be counted on to carry the load and he doesn't mind it. Playing quarterback, wide receiver, running back and cornerback last fall, he totaled over 1,000 all-purpose yards. Still, the experience didn't prepare him for what awaited at Auburn.

"I was at first," Edwards answers when asked if he was nervous about starting the season. "But I've been here for a month or so and gotten used to the players and coaches and workouts. Now I'm starting to get used to how things are done."

Something that was very beneficial to Edwards this summer was coming to campus early to work out with teammates in the weight room and on the practice field. Lining up against players like Carlos Rogers and Junior Rosegreen, he got the chance to see what he was made of before they actually strapped on the pads.

"That helped a tremendous amount because I was nervous and a little jittery because I didn't know what to expect coming up here," Edwards says. "Now that I've been up here this month working with the other players and getting to know them, a lot of the other receivers have really helped me as far as learning the plays during the passing session and a lot of things I didn't know about the receiver position. It just helped a lot."

Bruce Edwards

Trying to learn on the fly while also learning the players, Edwards says he was struggling to get things down, but always had a player willing to lend a helping hand. More often that not, Edwards says that hand belonged to senior Jeris McIntyre.

"During the passing skels and seven-on-seven workouts and one-on-one, he pretty much has been my biggest help since I've been here," Edwards says. "Him being a senior, he knows a lot. Just watching him run his routes and catch the ball helped. From him talking to me and teaching me the plays, he also plays inside receiver, I've learned a lot from him."

One of the players who has impressed Edwards this summer was quarterback Jason Campbell. Growing as a leader and signal caller, Campbell took over the summer workouts and Edwards noted it was impressive to see the players respond to him in the volunteer practices. Because of that, Edwards says he would love to get on the field this season in some form to help the team achieve the goals they have set.

"I'm definitely trying to get into the rotation next year," Edwards says. "But there are a lot things I can still learn from the older guys. The older receivers that are here are years ahead of me and I know that even in one year you can advance so much. I'm just trying to learn from them and hopefully be in the rotation next year."

No matter what happens this season, whether he plays or is redshirted, Edwards says he's already become more certain he made the right decision when he chose to become a Tiger. One of the South's top athletes, he had the chance to go just about anywhere, but in the end he decided Auburn was the right place for him and he's never looked back.

"When they were recruiting me they told me they had a lot of young receivers," Edwards says. "For a young receiver now was a good time to come in and play. It (the chance for early playing time) had a little bit to do with my decision, but I just really wanted to come into a good program where I knew I could develop over the years. I felt like Auburn was the best program for me."

Tiger Ticket Extra:> Edwards may become the next in a fairly distinguished group of Auburn football players to make a name for themselves on the baseball diamond while in college. Not certain if he'll play baseball this year for Coach Steve Renfroe, Edwards says that he hopes to do that before he leaves the Plains. Edwards hit better than .400 as both a junior and a senior and was a major threat stealing bases for Columbus High where he was a two-time Collegiate Baseball High School All-American. He was also selected to the TPX Louisville Slugger All-American team.

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