Bryan Edwards and Antonio Gandy-Golden are both headed to the Senior Bowl but they’re getting there via different paths. Edwards has been on devy and dynasty radars since his freshman year at South Carolina where he posted an outrageous 17.9 breakout age. Gandy-Golden, on the other hand, was fashionably late to the party as a small-school dominator. Let’s break down their games and see what we can expect from them in Mobile.
*Note: Bryan Edwards will not be participating in the Senior Bowl due to his knee not being 100% healthy following a knee scope at the end of South Carolina’s season.
In Edwards’ four years at South Carolina, he’s posted a sub-20% market share of targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns just three times. His freshman year he had 15% of the Gamecocks’ targets and 18% of their receptions, and his junior year just barely missed out on a 20% target share (former teammate Deebo Samuel had 102 targets). He’s been relied on heavily each year and has produced in the SEC on an underwhelming offense.
Edwards’ game and the way he wins is simple to see: he’s an athletic, bigger-bodied receiver at 6’3” and 215 pounds. He has a quick release from the line of scrimmage and light, fast feet which allow him to create separation at every level of the field. Edwards also uses his frame to shield defenders from making plays on the ball, whether it’s across the middle of the field on slant and crossing routes or high-pointing balls on the boundary.
In this clip from his 2019 game against Tennessee, we can see Edwards’ quick footwork as he tries to get the defender to open up to the inside, with Edwards releasing outside and immediately getting upfield. The corner actually does a nice job of not biting and sticks with Edwards, but it matters not. Edwards is able to remain focused with the defender on top of him and he goes up to make an absurd one-handed catch.
Small-school ballers and the Senior Bowl go together like lamb and tuna fish. Gandy-Golden is one of those guys this year. Even though his raw statistical output isn’t close to someone like Cooper Kupp, his market share numbers are still impressive. Gandy-Golden’s senior year line of 130/79/1,396/10 accounted for 28.8%, 30.7%, 37.2%, and 34.5% of the Flames’ offense, respectively. The 1,396 receiving yards he put up in 2019 ranked fourth across the NCAA. Even more impressive? The second-leading receiver in Liberty’s offense had 401 receiving yards. Everyone on the defense knew Gandy-Golden was getting targeted, but it didn’t matter.
Gandy-Golden is a back-shoulder boss and high-point specialist. At 6’4” and 220 pounds he also has legit downfield speed which is going to make him an issue for nearly any defender he lines up across from. When watching his games, defenders are playing him with ten yards of cushion because they have to respect his ability to stretch the field. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Gandy-Golden holds up against an uptick in competition in Mobile.
This clip from Gandy-Golden’s 2018 game against Idaho State shows both his back-shoulder and high-pointing prowess. The corner couldn’t have been in a better position to break up this pass, but because of AGG’s length and vertical jump, he’s able to get to the ball before the defender. At the same time, he’s making the back-shoulder adjustment mid-air and finishes off the play for a score.