Who’s Next? Gamecocks search for answers at WR following Deebo injury

Updated: Sep. 19, 2017 at 4:04 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The news of Deebo Samuel's leg injury essentially took the wind out of the sails of the South Carolina Gamecocks – literally and figuratively.

Samuel suffered the injury against Kentucky in the third quarter of last Saturday's contest. Despite returning to the field and trying to push through the injury, Samuel did not finish the contest and was initially ruled out for the year.

"Just sad, man," said Gamecocks running back Rico Dowdle. "I'm sorry for him. He's a great player, obviously. He's going to be a hard player to replace. We're just praying for a speedy recovery for him."

Now, the Gamecocks will need their corps of wide receivers to step up and fill in from a production standpoint if they hope to keep the offense going.

"I think everybody can chip in," said Gamecocks wide receiver Bryan Edwards. "It's going to take a team effort. Everybody's got to step up a little bit and contribute to match that production."

With Samuel out, Bryan Edwards will likely be the next target opposing defense will attempt to stop. The sophomore is tied with Samuel for the team lead in receptions with 15. However, receivers other than Edwards have combined for 11 catches for 93 yards and one touchdown. Still, the Gamecocks are embracing the challenge of being able to put points on the board without their star receiver.

"I think everybody, the whole offense, puts more weight on their shoulders because a guy like Deebo and the amount of touches he had and just the explosiveness, everybody has to step up a little from running back to tight end to receiver. We've all got to come out there and produce on Saturday."

The Gamecocks will look to players like Randrecous Davis, who recently returned from injury, along with OrTre Smith to come in and help provide the production the Gamecocks will be without now that Samuel is out for an unknown amount of time.

"Man down, man up," said Dowdle. "That's a saying that we've had since it happened because, obviously, it's going to take a lot to replace a guy like that. But like I said, man down, man up. Somebody's got to step up."

Although not having Samuel on the field will be tough for the Gamecocks, they believe they can still be productive and put points on the board without him.

"That's the thing about this offseason," said Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley. "Anytime that we had throwing sessions, I would text him. He would be the one to bring all the other guys along. So, I got just as many throws to him as I did everyone else because he was bringing all the receiver group with him. He's going to be missed obviously. He was an explosive player for us, but we'll find ways to keep it rolling on offense and he should be back in a couple weeks, hopefully. He's going to work his tail off to be back as soon as he can. We've just got to keep rolling on offense and guys have got to step up."

South Carolina will look to bounce back from their first loss of the season when they take on Louisiana Tech at home Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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