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Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

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Herm Edwards plans to discuss second-year expectations with 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk

Mar 13, 2021 at 2:38 PM--

Herm Edwards was Brandon Aiyuk's coach at Arizona State and influenced general manager John Lynch's desire to draft the wide receiver last year. Aiyuk had a pretty good start to his NFL career. The first-round pick racked up 60 receptions for 748 yards with five touchdowns through 12 games and 11 starts during his rookie campaign.

Edwards joined 95.7 The Game on Friday and said he still keeps in touch with his former Sun Devils receiver. The two plan to get together soon to discuss Aiyuk's future as the young player embarks on his sophomore NFL season. Was the former NFL and current Arizona State coach surprised by Aiyuk's impressive rookie performance?

"I just got through talking to Brandon yesterday, and he's coming to town, obviously, and we're going to visit again," Edwards said on the Covay & JD show. "But nah, it wasn't surprising. The conversations I've had with John about him before they drafted him, that wasn't surprising. I just think it's like anything else. I just think when you get a healthy quarterback that can play 16 games, then obviously the timing and all those things come into play.

"And I just think we watched a little bit of him play. He missed some games—and that's generally not like him—due to some injuries, and things of that nature, and to [COVID-19] as well."

Despite missing some time, Aiyuk's receiving-yard total for last season ranks No. 3 in franchise history among rookies, behind only Jerry Rice (927 in 1985) and Deebo Samuel (802 in 2019). His receptions total ranks second among 49ers rookies to Earl Cooper's mark of 83 in 1980. Aiyuk's five scores are tied for second in franchise history among rookies (Dave Parks had eight in 1964).

Expectations in Year 2 will be even higher.

"But I think he's a very confident young man going into his second season," Edwards continued. "And this is going to be the hard one now. The first one, when you come into the league, it's no different than any young player. He comes into the league, and he kind of lives past the expectations.

"And then, all of a sudden, the second year, now the expectations become very big, and that's the kind of conversations I'm going to have with him when I sit down and visit with him. Just don't get ahead of ourselves. Let's just go back to the basics, and I know Coach (Kyle Shanahan) will tell him that, but it's always good to hear from somebody else other than your coach, and I don't coach him anymore."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Edwards below.

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