Jake Bentley will be the one under center for South Carolina football in 2018, but the way things are going, the face of the program for the upcoming season might be the guy Bentley is throwing to — Deebo Samuel.
The explosive Gamecock picked up another prestigious preseason honor Tuesday, as Athlon Sports named him a second-team All-American as both a wide receiver and kick returner. He was the only USC player on all four teams named by Athlon.
Samuel was previously named a preseason first-team All-SEC performer by Athlon, and at least one 2019 NFL mock draft had him as a top-five pick. His 2018 campaign was cut short by a broken leg just three games into the season, but he still managed to tie for the team lead in touchdowns, with six, and was fifth in receiving yards and second in kick return yards.
All of the excitement for Samuel comes despite his being limited by his injury throughout spring practice. He said in late April that he was "85-90 percent" healthy.
The Gamecocks have had just four consensus All-Americans in program history, most recently with Jadeveon Clowney in 2012.