COLUMBIA, S.C. — Deebo Samuel has proven to be a strong downfield weapon for the South Carolina passing attack this season. But the sophomore wide receiver also has demonstrated he’s just as big a threat as a runner in the red zone.
On Saturday, Samuel ran for a pair of 2-yard touchdowns for South Carolina in its 44-31 win against Western Carolina.
“The jet sweep has been money for us,” Samuel said. “I have three pulling blockers, you’ve got a lineman pulling and a running back and a receiver out there. Most of the time, they are outnumbered and I just hit the gap.”
Samuel got on the board in the first quarter against WCU with a 100-yard kickoff return, preceding his pair of second-quarter touchdown runs. The 2 rushing scores brought his season total to 5, while he has yet to produce a receiving touchdown.
Presented with an opportunity to score his sixth rushing touchdown in the third quarter, Samuel was stopped for no gain. Still, the Gamecocks have continued to put the ball in Samuel’s hands in the red zone, as the coaches identified pretty quickly he could be a weapon close to the goal line.
“About the third day of spring practice,” coach Will Muschamp said.
Samuel now has 14 rushes for 94 yards on the year, with his 5 rushing touchdowns ranking second on the team behind running back Rico Dowdle’s 6.
“Everybody had an assignment and when everybody does their assignment, you see a big old hole open up and I hit it,” Samuel said.