USC Gamecocks Football

Deebo Samuel delaying his first public appearances, unless it’s for a good cause

On Wednesday, former South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel officially signed with Everett Sports Marketing, a firm in Greenville that also represents USC great Connor Shaw.

Samuel announced Monday he will skip the Belk Bowl. And he’s making a point of not detracting from South Carolina’s upcoming game against Virginia.

“Though Deebo is one of the most marketable players in this draft class … Deebo has made the decision he will not do any public appearances until post-bowl game,” ESM’s Dan Everett said, “because he wants the state of South Carolina to be totally focused on their football team and not him.”

That means no autograph sessions, youth football camps or corporate speaking engagements, according to Everett.

But there is an exception in there.

“Any appearances he does leading up the bowl game or Christmas will only be philanthropic or charitable in nature because that’s what he’s passionate for,” Everett said. “It will probably focused on low-income and at-risk youth because that’s (who) he’s passionate about helping.”

ESM is a marketing agent and will handle everything outside of his actual contract, such as endorsements, appearances and media. He still must sign with an agent to handle negotiations with NFL teams.

Samuel was an explosive play-maker for South Carolina the past three seasons, often having to battle injuries across his five-year career. His NFL plans were delayed by a broken bone in his leg last season, which derailed a potentially dominant year.

This season, he was the fifth-leading receiver in the league with 62 catches for 882 yards (4th) and 11 touchdowns (2nd). He also led the conference in kick return average (24.78 yards) and had the only kick return score in the conference this season.

Considering his injury history and the fact Gamecocks senior guard Zack Bailey broke his leg late in USC’s last game, it’s not much of a jump that Samuel, who is projected as to be picked in the draft’s second round, would not risk the bowl game.

“As much as I would love to suit up one last time for the Gamecocks, having those extra weeks to better prepare for the NFL will be crucial,” Samuel wrote on Instagram to announce his decision. “As I look to the next chapter, I realize the next 6 months will determine my next four years and potentially even more.”