Hale McGranahan/SEC Country
South Carolina cornerback Jamyest Williams is tied for second on the team with 2 interceptions.

Another South Carolina player earns SEC honors; plus, a Gamecocks leader announces NFL Draft decision

Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more. Miss a previous edition? Find every edition of SEC Country’s South Carolina Gamecocks Chicken & Waffles right here.

Living up to the hype

South Carolina cornerback Jamyest Williams was named to the SEC’s All-Freshman team on Thursday afternoon.

Williams had 38 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 2 interceptions on the season.

The Grayson High School (Loganville, Ga.) standout was the Gamecocks’ top-rated prospect in the 2017 cycle, ranked No. 76 overall in the 247Sports composite.

Away he goes

South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst announced on Thursday that he will enter the 2018 NFL Draft.

“This was one of the hardest choices I have ever had to make because of how special South Carolina is to me,” Hurst wrote. “This university has completely changed my life and leaving next month will be extremely hard, but I am on to pursuing my next dream and representing Gamecock nation wherever I end up.”

The redshirt junior was named first-team All-SEC by both the Associated Press and league coaches. The 6-foot-5 tight end caught 41 passes for 518 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.

Big grades

NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah sees “a lot of similarities to Greg Olsen in [Hurst’s] play.”

“South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst has come up several times in my discussions with NFL scouts during the fall,” Jeremiah said. “After studying his tape this week, it’s easy to understand why so many evaluators have big grades on him. He has outstanding size [6-foot-5, 250 pounds] and speed [he’s been timed in the low 4.6s in the 40-yard dash.”

Hurst is trying to join the last South Carolina tight end taken in the draft: Jerell Adams in 2016. The New York Giants took the Pinewood, S.C., native with the No. 184 pick overall in the sixth round.

Back in the mix

Four-star safety and major South Carolina target Trey Dean de-committed from Tennessee on Thursday morning.

Gamecocks defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson visited with Dean on Wednesday, hours before his announcement.

The Hampton, Ga., native is rated by 247Sports as the No. 250 overall prospect for 2018.

‘They are my favorite’

Three-star safety Israel Mukuamu made it clear to SportsTalk’s Phil Kornblut that South Carolina leads for his services.

“I would say they are at the top,” Mukuamu told Kornblut. “They are my favorite. Anything can happen these next couple of days. I think I’ll probably commit to one of these schools either next week or on Signing Day.”

Robinson and South Carolina coach Will Muschamp visited with the former Florida State commit earlier this week.

Out go the offers

South Carolina’s offered a number of 2019 and 2020 prospects in the last few days, including 2019 4-star wide receiver Jameson Williams.

The 6-2 receiver already boasts an impressive offer list, with the likes of Ohio State, Penn State, TCU and more.

Memories

South Carolina fans won’t get to see injured WR Deebo Samuel in the bowl game, but the dynamic receiver will be back in Columbia next season — and that’s plenty of reason to smile.

Even though Samuel played in just 3 games this season, he made his fair share of highlights. The redshirt junior caught 15 passes for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns, with a rushing touchdown and 2 kickoff return scores.

Let’s celebrate the end of the workweek with one of Samuel’s top plays from South Carolina’s 35-27 win against North Carolina State in Week 1.

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