College football fans won’t have the chance to see South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Deebo Samuel in action for the team’s bowl game. Fortunately, they’ll see a whole lot of him at the next level in the very near future. Samuel opted to sit out of the Belk Bowl against the Virginia Cavaliers, meaning the senior wideout has played his final collegiate game.
The senior receiver capped off a strong four-year career in which he didn’t always have the most reliable quarterback play. He also played in just five games as a freshman and three as a junior but put together his best year across the board as a senior. Samuel caught 62 passes for 882 yards and 11 touchdowns through 12 games. For good measure, he also has four kick return touchdowns in his career and averaged 24.8 yards per return this season.
Samuel capped off his time with the Gamecocks by topping the 100-yard mark in three of the last four games and catching six touchdowns in the final three. He saved the best game of his career for a rivalry matchup with the Clemson Tigers in late November, as the 6-foot wideout caught 10 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns.
Samuel’s sights are now set on the 2019 NFL Draft, and he’s receiving quite a bit of attention. Let’s take a look at the latest on his draft stock and the projected round that the South Carolina receiver could come off the board.
Deebo Samuel’s NFL Draft Stock
While Samuel’s overall stock has bounced around a bit, he’s remained fairly high in the eyes of most draft analysts. The expectation seems to be that he’s already a strong prospect and that his stock should only improve. ESPN’s Mel Kiper currently has Samuel as the No. 7 receiver on his 2019 Big Board. He sits ahead of multiple impressive players including two University of Texas receivers in Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey.
Samuel, who was named a First-Team All-American this season, earned a far higher mark from Walter Football in their most recent breakdown. They cited him as the No. 3 overall wide receiver, behind only Ole Miss’ A.J. Brown and Ohio State’s Parris Campbell.
For good measure, Samuel fell under the “feature” wideout section on Draft Tek, pointing to him likely lining up at the X or Z positions in an NFL offense. He ranked No. 5 there, landing ahead of the likes of Iowa State’s wideout Hakeem Butler, who had an impressive showing in the team’s bowl game against Washington State.
When Deebo Samuel Could Be Drafted
We’ve seen Samuel listed in a variety of spots in the top-10, and one thing that seems certain is that he’s expected to draw a decent amount of attention from NFL teams early in the draft. In a recent mock draft from Draft Tek, the South Carolina wide receiver is slated to come off the board early in the second round.
They have Samuel going No. 39 overall to the Buffalo Bills, a team he’d likely immediately step in and see extended playing time with. This mock draft has the Gamecocks standout going just a few picks after Butler comes off the board to the Indianapolis Colts.
Walter Football also provided a high draft projection for Samuel, pegging him as a first or second-round prospect. They even have him listed ahead of Oklahoma Sooners star Marquise Brown.