Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

5 things we've learned about the 2017 South Carolina Gamecocks

5 things we've learned about the 2017 South Carolina Gamecocks

Against Missouri, it was Ty'Son Williams's turn.

Samuel, a 6-0, 215-pound native of Inman, S.C., returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown during the Gamecocks 31-13 victory over SEC East rival Missouri last week.

SC has preformed better than odds makers have anticipated this year, covering the spread in both of their games this season. "I think all of those things are a combination of things, but he, personally, has invested himself into this", Muschamp said. "They probably haven't seen much on film. So every position they put me in kind of hurt", he said.

But Saturday wasn't just the Williams show.

Those returns, earning him back-to-back SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors, and the three other touchdowns he's scored, have him brushing shoulders with some of college football's other power brokers in the way-too-early lists of Heisman Trophy contenders.

"A kick return for touchdown can give a defense momentum", Samuel said, "so they can just build off of that".

"I feel good", Samuel said Tuesday. "And it also makes it better on us because we come in the game and each of us are fresh. He works extremely hard, and that's why I think he has tremendous respect from his teammates". "A couple of injuries his first two years, but he's a breakout player". He also rushed for a touchdown, joking it was the first time he ran the ball since Pop Warner.

He missed seven games while limping through three others as a redshirt freshman and pulled a hamstring in the second game previous year, causing him to miss the next three.

This year, Mark Stoops and his team are just the opposite, 2-0. However, Kentucky is on a three-game win streak over the Gamecocks, their longest win streak in the series history. "We were trying to get Hayden more involved", Bentley said.

For Samuel's candidacy to gain traction, he's going to need more touches on offense, so he can pad those stats, because teams are going to stop kicking the ball to him. In the 46-39 overtime loss to South Florida in last December's Birmingham Bowl, he racked up 14 catches for 190 yards. Samuel had 167 all-purpose yards that included some rushing, receiving and returning. His first start of his career at United Kingdom was not glamorous, going 11-19 with 135 yards and an interception, but it was enough to get the job done.

"It's not about plays; it's about players".

"Our guys will handle this fine", Muschamp said. "Anything that we can do to get him the ball, we're definitely going to do it". Who knows, maybe it's Bryan (Edwards), K.C. (Crosby) or Shi (Smith) next week.

"He's just an incredible athlete, playmaker for us".

University of SC junior kick returner Deebo Samuel has been named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week, the conference office announced today.

He took the season-opening kickoff 97 yards and scored twice more including on a one-handed catch in the end zone in a 35-28 victory over North Carolina State.

Johnson's opposing quarterback this week, SC sophomore Jake Bentley, will be playing in his first career matchup against the Cats. Game time has been set for 3:30 p.m. and the contest will be televised on SEC Network.

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