In an exclusive with “Sports Final Edition” last
night, Michigan junior wide receiver Braylon Edwards announced that
he will return for his senior season.

Mira Levitan
Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards catches a touchdown pass from John Navarre in front of Willie Gaston and Will Gulley of the Houston Cougars Sept. 6 at Michigan Stadium. Edwards will return for his senior year at Michigan. (DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily)

“I talked to coach (Lloyd) Carr the other day, and I had a
lot of time to make this decision,” said Edwards at about
11:45 to WDIV-TV.

“I sat down with my family, sat down with my grandmother
— we prayed on it. A lot has been taken into this decision,
and I have decided to stay for my senior year.”

“I hope (Carr) is happy,” said Edwards later in the
interview.

The Wolverines’ top receiver the past two seasons (85
catches for 1,138 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2003) stated that the
Orange Bowl in Miami — the site of next year’s BCS
national title game — was among the top reasons why he is
coming back for the fourth year.

“Now I’m a senior so I can’t look to the older
guy — I am the older guy,” Edwards said.

“Now is the time I have to make a stand and lead this team
hopefully to the Orange Bowl, the national championship, to leave
my legacy at Michigan.”

Edwards was close to jumping to the NFL, but benefited from the
new system that allows underclassmen to speak with pro scouts about
what their draft status would be.

“It was real close,” Edwards said. “The odds
were great. There were a lot of things going on with the NFL that I
liked, a lot of positive feedback. But I feel that when I come back
on the field next year, I can go and establish myself as the
guy.”

The junior said scouts have rated him as high as the No. 3 or 4
wide receiver in college, meaning he would have had to rely on an
unbelievably good combine in order to become the top wideout in the
draft — which is his ultimate individual goal.

“(The scouts) said they liked a lot of things about me: my
physical attributes, they said they liked the fact I was very
physical on the field, blocking, they said I had good speed,”
Edwards said.

“They said sometimes I’m inconsistent. I think that
was one weakness that they gave me is the inconsistency, but other
than that, everything was pretty much positive.”

Edwards said he agrees with the criticism and plans to work on
it for next year.

It was after the Ohio State game when Edwards created doubt
whether he would return or not.

He had stated he would come back for his senior season after the
emotional Minnesota win, but in the five games following, he
recorded an impressive seven touchdowns on 32 receptions and 456
yards.

With the success, coupled with Michigan’s winning streak
to get the Wolverines to the Rose Bowl, Edwards’ name began
to appear in mock NFL draft boards.

After the disappointing loss to Southern Cal. in Pasadena, both
Edwards and cornerback Marlin Jackson made it known they were
thinking about leaving Michigan.

Jackson announced last week he would return to the
Wolverines.

Edwards’ return will only help the Wolverines next season.
He will lead a wide receiving trio of himself and sophomores Jason
Avant and Steve Breaston, which will provide Michigan’s new
quarterback, whomever it may be next year, with sizeable targets.
The three combined for 2,277 yards and 176 catches this past
season.

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