ATHENS, Ga. — Terrence Edwards may be looking for a new roommate next year, but at least he knows he will return for his senior season at Georgia.
Edwards admits there were times when he considered leaving school early for the NFL draft.
Career pass receptions
Early problems this season with dropped passes helped convince Edwards that he needs his senior season, but there are other reasons he wants to return next year.
Career TD catches
Edwards ranks second in school history with 145 career receptions and 2,139 receiving yards. He could leave as Georgia's top receiver in catches, yards and touchdowns, and with a strong senior season he could make the records difficult to reach.
"I want to set them high, so high (Georgia freshman standout) Fred (Gibson) can't get them,'' Edwards said with a laugh this week.
Career receiving yards
Entering the season, Edwards thought a bowl game might be his last college game.
"It crosses your mind,'' he said. "As a player, you think about it. You just have to look at the bigger picture. It's a dream to play at the next level, but there is so much more I want to do here.''
Added Edwards: "I just had to grow up and mature as a man. I'm so close to breaking some records, and this team is going to be so good next year.''
Edwards finished strong this season with three touchdown catches and two 100-yard totals in the last four games. His 15 catches in that span allowed him to recover from temporarily losing his starting job due to dropped passes, including two big drops in a loss to South Carolina.
"I think he's better for it,'' said Georgia receivers coach John Eason.
"After he faced adversity, he can either complain about it or he can compete in a positive way. He responded the last couple of games very well.''
Said Edwards: "I think for me coming back and playing the way I did the last couple of weeks showed me I have a lot to learn from Coach Eason.''
Eason said Edwards can still improve his consistency in catching the ball and his blocking, though the coach said Edwards "responded very well in (improved) blocking.''
Edwards is rated as only the No. 24 wide receiver among the nation's juniors in Mel Kiper's 2002 Midseason Prospectus for next April's NFL draft.
McMichael is rated the No. 5 tight end among juniors. Grant is Kiper's No. 4 defensive lineman among juniors.
Said Grant: "I was about 90 percent (in favor of returning next season) about three months ago.'' Now he says "it would probably be 50-50,'' an indication he is finding more reasons to enter the draft.
Similarly, McMichael sounds as if he is thinking more of beginning his pro career. He plans to announce a decision "probably right after school starts back up (early in January).''
"There are other things I have to take care of,'' McMichael said. "I have to weigh those options more than myself.''
Asked what makes him want to return for 2002, McMichael said "I want to win a ring and I love these guys so much.''
Added Grant: "We have a chance to win the SEC championship next year. We have a lot of players coming back. That stands strong.''
Edwards says he understands McMichael's personal reasons for considering his options, but he says he has lobbied with Grant to come back for his senior season.
"I tell Charles if he leaves he might have all the money,'' Edwards said, "but that money won't buy you one of the rings we want to have next year.''
Charles Odum can be reached at CEOdum@aol.com.