COLUMBIA, SC (The Big Spur) - Late Monday afternoon, Deebo Samuel posted a ‘thank you’ to South Carolina football fans on Twitter and announced on Instagram that he won't play in the Belk Bowl.
The announcement on Twitter included some video highlights from Samuel’s impressive Gamecock career, which has been riddled by injury, except for this year. The senior wide receiver/kick returner, who was named All-SEC on Monday, has played in every game so far this season.
"Gamecock Fans –
Staying in state and playing for the team I rooted for my entire life was one of my best decisions. There is no experience that can compare to suiting up in that garnet and black. Coach Muschamp and the staff helped me develop as a player and even more as a man – thank you!
I came back for my senior year to play another season in front of the most passionate fans in the country and graduate. I now have a chance to support my family and community in a way that could impact so many around me. As much as I would love to suit up one last time for the Gamecocks, having those extra weeks to better prepare for NFL will be crucial. As I look to the next chapter, I realize the next 6 months will determine my next four years and potentially even more. I will be at the bowl game to cheer on my brothers and to thank USC, the fans and my family for making my dreams come true!" – Samuel's message on Instagram (uno_captain)
Samuel leads the Gamecocks with 882 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s second in the SEC in receiving touchdowns. He also recorded touchdowns via a 90-yard kick return against Ole Miss, recovered a fumble for a touchdown against Akron and threw a touchdown pass against Georgia.
Samuel has 1,478 all-purpose yards this season, most of which were notched as a pass-catcher. He had 570 yards on 23 kick returns. His all-purpose numbers rank second in the SEC, trailing Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams, who has 1,802.
Before this season, Samuel caught 86 career passes for 1,194 yards and accounted for 15 touchdowns (seven rushing, five receiving and three via kick return). He also had one touchdown pass. Samuel also entered his final season as the school’s record-holder in kick returns for touchdowns.
Samuel appeared in 18 games before 2018, but missed several over the course of the 2015, 16 and 17 seasons. He started in 16 of those contests.
The South Carolina football team plays Virginia in the Belk Bowl. Kickoff is set for noon on Saturday, Dec. 29 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.