University of South Carolina senior Skai Moore was named Monday to the Butkus Award Watch List, which honors the nation’s best linebacker. The same morning, wide receiver Deebo Samuel made the list for the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the most versatile player in major college football.
Moore, a 6-foot-2, 218-pounder from Cooper City, Fla., returned to the field in the spring after taking a redshirt year in 2016 because of a neck injury. The most decorated returning player on the Gamecocks’ roster, Moore was named preseason second-team All-SEC by both Athlon magazine and by the media attending SEC Media Days.
He was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2015 by both the AP and the league’s coaches. Moore has tallied 260 career tackles, needing 47 to move into the school’s all-time top-10. He led the team in tackles for three-consecutive seasons from 2013-15. Moore also owns 11 career interceptions, tying for third on the all-time list and just three shy of Bo Davies’ school record of 14. The senior linebacker was named to the Bednarik and Nagurski Trophy watch lists last week.
Samuel, a 6-foot-0, 215-pound junior from Inman, S.C., was named preseason first-team All-SEC as an all-purpose back and second-team as a kick returner by Athlon.
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The top returning receiver on the squad with 71 career catches for 944 yards, Samuel has scored nine career touchdowns - six on the ground, two receiving and one via kickoff return. He tied the school’s single-game record with 14 receptions and set Birmingham Bowl records with 14 catches for 190 yards against USF. He previously was named to the Maxwell Award Watch List, which is given to America’s College Player of the Year.