Editor’s note: In advance of South Carolina’s contingent arriving at SEC Media Days, SEC Country is spotlighting each of the three Gamecocks players representing the program in Hoover, Ala., this week. On Monday, we examined defensive lineman Marquavius Lewis.
With just career five games under his belt, South Carolina wideout Deebo Samuel might be the most inexperienced player ever brought to SEC Media Days as a team representative.
Samuel, a former 3-star recruit out of Inman, S.C., took a redshirt during his first year on campus. Last season, Samuel started in three games, including the season opener against North Carolina before leaving that game with a hamstring injury.
After totaling three catches for 30 yards in losses to Kentucky and Georgia, Samuel sat out the next seven games while trying to rehab his hammy.
When he returned against The Citadel, Samuel hauled in four catches for 27 yards. A week later, against rival Clemson, he broke out and caught five passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. He most definitely looked the part of a starting receiver against the Tigers.
Coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper are counting on Samuel to be one of the Gamecocks’ primary contributors on that side of the ball.
“He’s going to get a lot of touches, and he needs to have a great year for us to have a good year offensively,” Muschamp said during a SpursUp Tour stop in Samuel’s hometown.
According to the 247Sports Composite, Samuel was given a 4-star rating and ranked the No. 109 wide receiver in the Class of 2014.
“He’s an elite athlete. I think he’s got a chance to be an elite player,” Muschamp said. “He’s a guy that’s got a tremendous work ethic. I was really impressed with how he worked in the offseason, how he worked during spring practice.”
Perhaps that positive early impression is why Samuel will join Muschamp, Marquavius Lewis and Mason Zandi at SEC Media Days on Thursday. It certainly helps that Samuel has a big enough personality to hold his own on the big stage.
This season has all the makings to be a big one for Samuel, and he’s already putting in a summer’s worth of work to see that realized.
“I’m coming into this season, pushing myself harder to get to the top,” he said.