USC Gamecocks Football

Greg McElroy thought the Jets were nuts for not drafting Alshon Jeffery. He was right

Will Muschamp talks 2019 schedule and the Gamecocks’ never-changing goals

South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp speaks Wednesday, July 17, 2019, at SEC Media Days, in Hoover, Alabama.
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South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp speaks Wednesday, July 17, 2019, at SEC Media Days, in Hoover, Alabama.

Stephen Hill spent parts of four seasons in the NFL, recording 45 catches for 594 yards and four touchdowns. He was last seen on a field trying out for the Atlanta Legends of the now-defunct Alliance of American Football. He didn’t make the final roster.

What does any of this have to do with, well, anything?

In a roundabout way, Hill’s name came up Wednesday during SEC Media Days. As part of his underwhelming pro career, Hill is the answer to a trivia question that might be of interest to South Carolina and New York Jets fans.

Who is the wide receiver selected two picks before Alshon Jeffery in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft?

SEC Network analyst Greg McElroy was with the Jets at the time, a teammate of fellow quarterback Mark Sanchez. McElroy was also two years removed from being on the losing end of Alabama’s matchup with the Gamecocks that included Jeffery making seven grabs for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

“I remember Alshon Jeffery taking over the game,” McElroy recalled Wednesday. “I also remember telling Mark Sanchez, when we were with the Jets in ‘12 and Alshon was coming out, I was like, ‘If that guy’s there in the second round and we don’t take him, we’re nuts.’

“We took a different guy that year. I wanted Alshon.”

Playing in Paul Johnson’s option-based, run-heavy offense at Georgia Tech, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Hill totaled only 49 receptions for 1,248 yards and nine scores over three college years. The 6-2, 216-pound Jeffery twice made All-SEC in his three-year Gamecock career. He finished with 183 catches, 3,042 yards and 23 TDs.

It was good enough for the Chicago Bears, who took Jeffery 45th overall. Jeffery will soon enter his eighth NFL season (third with the Philadelphia Eagles) with 426 receptions, 6,181 yards and 41 touchdowns. He became a Super Bowl champion in February 2018.

Jeffery and McElroy’s alma maters on Sept. 14 in Columbia will face each other for the first time since that 2010 USC win.

“It was just one of those games where it was a great environment,” McElroy said. “It’s really cool to see Alabama going back to Williams-Brice. It’s a wonderful place to play and it should pose a challenge to them, early.”

South Carolina football quarterback Jake Bentley speaks Wednesday, July 17, 2019, as part of SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama.

Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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