Tyshun Samuel followed through with his verbal commitment to South Carolina when he signed a National Letter of Intent with South Carolina on Wednesday. After receiving an offer from Steve Spurrier Jr. on November 23rd, the three-star prospect announced his commitment 12 days later and will play for Carolina after spurning offers from North Carolina, Appalachian State, East Carolina, and Maryland. Samuel is considered the No. 25 overall player in the state of South Carolina and the 109th-ranked wide receiver in the nation.
Partly because he played at the obscure Chapman High, mostly tucked away from media exposure in Inman, S.C., many analysts have predicted Deebo to be the sleeper of South Carolina's 2014 class. There have also been many comparisons to former Gamecock and Berkeley High star, Bruce Ellington. Though Samuel is a bit taller than Ellington, their games share many similarities. During his Chapman High Career, the Shrine Bowl wide receiver caught 166 passes and totaled a school record 53 career touchdowns. He is projected as a slot receiver for the Gamecocks, and could also contribute on special teams. As a senior, Samuel had 61 receptions for 1,184 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also rushed for an additional 837 yards and 13 touchdowns, while intercepting 2 passes that were returned for touchdowns.
Samuel's film shows his explosive playmaking ability. He has the skills to catch the ball with his hands and possesses lower body strength which allows him to break tackles and the speed to outrun second-level defenders. He also has great vision and acceleration when the ball is in his hands. With his versatility and playmaking ability, look for him to be a player that catches screens and runs a lot of the intermediate routes in the Gamecocks' offense. He's the type of player that can turn a short gain into a long score.
With the loss of Bruce Ellington, there is a serious void in the Carolina receiving corp. However, players like Shaq Roland and Pharoh Cooper really come on for the Gamecocks down the stretch. I look for those two guys, along with Nick Jones and Damiere Byrd, to be Dylan Thompson's top receiver targets in 2014. However, Deebo Samuel may surprise everyone and earn some playing time as a true freshman.
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