Gamecocks’ Smith, Jones declare for 2021 NFL Draft

Gamecocks’ Smith, Jones declare for 2021 NFL Draft
Ernest Jones (left) and Shi Smith have both declared for the 2021 NFL Draft (Source: Sideline Carolina)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Two of South Carolina’s leading players have now declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.

On Tuesday, seniors Shi Smith and Ernest Jones each announced their intentions to prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft on social media.

Smith was South Carolina’s leading receiver this past season. He finished the year with 57 catches for 633 yard and four touchdowns in nine games. Smith had 27 more catches than the team’s next leading receiver, who was tight end Nick Muse.

In four seasons at Carolina, the Union County product had 174 catches for 2,204 yards and 13 touchdowns. Smith finished with 40 or more catches in each of the last three seasons.

On the defensive side of the ball, Jones was a critical piece in Carolina’s defense this past season. He led the team in total tackles with 86 and was third among Gamecock defenders with five tackles for loss. Jones played nine games for Carolina this year but was sidelined due to injury.

The junior linebacker from Waycross, Ga. finished his career at South Carolina with 199 tackles, 10.5 sacks, two interceptions, seven pass deflections, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries over three seasons.

He led the Gamecocks in each of the last two seasons in tackles.

With declarations from Smith and Jones on Tuesday, the Gamecocks have now had four players officially declare for the NFL Draft this year. Previously, defensive backs Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu opted out and declared for the draft as well.

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