Seven Gamecocks Join NFL Rosters

Seven Gamecocks Join NFL Rosters
South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn (No. 1) and some of his defensive teammates celebrate after Horn intercepts Auburn quarterback Bo Nix in the first half on Oct. 17, 2020. (Source: Travis Bell)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - With the 2021 NFL Draft in the books, the South Carolina Gamecocks have seven players off their 2020 roster who will get an opportunity to continue their careers playing at the highest level.

Jaycee Horn was the first Gamecock off the board. The junior cornerback was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the first round with the eighth pick overall. He was the first defensive player selected in the draft. Horn became the 15th Gamecock to be taken in the first round of the draft and the 10th since 2000. He is the fifth-highest Gamecock selected behind George Rogers (1), Jadeveon Clowney (1), Sterling Sharpe (7) and Troy Williamson (7).

Junior linebacker Ernest Jones went next, as he was selected by the Los Angeles Rams with the 40th pick in the third round. He was the 103rd pick overall in the 2021 draft. Jones is the highest Gamecock linebacker drafted since John Abraham was selected with the 13th pick in the first round by the New York Jets in 2000.

The Gamecocks had a pair of sixth-round selections in senior wide receiver Shi Smith and junior defensive back Israel Mukuamu.

Smith was selected by the Carolina Panthers with the 20th pick in the sixth round, the 204th pick overall. It marked the third-straight year in which South Carolina has had a wide receiver selected in the draft. Deebo Samuel was a second-round selection by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2019 draft, while Bryan Edwards went to the Las Vegas Raiders in the third round of the 2020 draft.

Smith joins Horn on the Panthers’ roster, that also includes former Gamecocks punter Joseph Charlton, offensive tackle Dennis Daley and safety J.T. Ibe.

Mukuamu was selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 43rd pick in the sixth round of the draft on Saturday. He was the 227th pick overall. Mukuamu became the 31st Gamecock defensive back selected in the NFL Draft and the 16th since 2002.

2021 marked the second-straight year that South Carolina had four NFL Draft picks. A Gamecock has been selected in 19 of the last 20 drafts.

Following the draft, three players agreed to Undrafted Free Agent contracts, according to media reports. Offensive lineman Sadarius Hutcherson will join the World Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, quarterback Collin Hill will go to camp with the Cincinnati Bengals and fullback Adam Prentice signed with the Denver Broncos.

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