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South Carolina top target Deebo Samuel can become one of SEC’s best

The injury plagued wide-out has shown he is as dynamic as they come when on the field.

NCAA Football: Western Carolina at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to The Final Cockdown’s Wide Receiver week! We go down the depth chart and take a look at who will be catching touchdowns from Jake Bentley this year. Here’s a list of who you can expect to read about in the coming days:

Bryan Edwards | Deebo Samuel | Terry Googer | Dreak Davis | Korey Banks | Chad Terrell | Chavis Dawkins | Ortre Smith + Shi Smith

#1 Deebo Samuel

RS Junior / 6’0” / 208 / Inman, S.C. / Chapman

Entering his fourth year in Columbia, Deebo Samuel can become a top playmaker in the SEC as long as he can stay healthy. After redshirting his first year, Samuel has played in only 15 of the Gamecocks’ 25 games the past two seasons. Troubled with hamstring injuries, he showed flashes of potential in his limited game time mid-way through the 2016 season. After missing three straight games, he returned to play the final eight at a high level. His production increased once Jake Bentley took the reins at QB.

In the first two games of the season, Samuel caught only four passes and had a rushing touchdown. In his return, he racked up 99 yards and a score on five touches in the loss to Georgia. Then Jake Bentley came in, and the freshman QB’s play led to an increase of production from Samuel. In the final seven games of the season, Samuel put up 527 yards on 44 catches and ran the ball 14 times for 91 yards and four touchdowns. In his best performance of the season, he had 14 catches for 190 yards and two total touchdowns against South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl.

With health, Samuel can become one of the most dynamic playmakers in the entire conference. If he can play a full season, with Bentley at the helm, one thousand yards receiving and double-digit touchdowns is very possible. He was used in the run game effectively, scoring six times on only 15 carries. That is something we could also see more of this coming season.

2016 Stats: 59 catches, 783 yards, one touchdown. 15 carries, 98 yards, six touchdowns. 100-yard kick-off return touchdown and 33-yard touchdown pass.

Recruitment: 3-star recruit; offers from North Carolina and North Carolina State. Committed to SC on Dec. 5, 2013.

Next Up: Another member of the 2014 recruiting class, RS Junior Terry Googer.