USC Gamecocks Football

Deebo Samuel makes his first NFL catch — and pops the helmet off a former Gamecock

Deebo Samuel previews rookie season with 49ers

Former South Carolina star was drafted in second round of the NFL draft
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Former South Carolina star was drafted in second round of the NFL draft

It didn’t take long for former South Carolina football star Deebo Samuel to make his presence known in the NFL.

Midway through the second quarter of his debut with the San Francisco 49ers, Samuel caught the first pass of his professional career on a 14-yard slant to help get his team some breathing room from its own goal line.

And after making the catch, he made hard contact with a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defender, knocking off his helmet and bouncing off to pick up a couple extra yards. And who was that defender? Fellow South Carolina alum Darian Stewart, a NFL veteran in his 10th season. Stewart, a safety who has spent time with four different pro teams, has a Super Bowl ring and Pro Bowl selection to his name.

Stewart seemed fine coming off the play, and the Bucs wound up getting the last laugh on that drive, returning an interception for a touchdown. But Samuel now has some official NFL stats after being selected with the 36th pick in the draft this past April.

Also during that drive, Samuel had a six-yard grab called back by a penalty. He later added catches of one and two yards before halftime. Stewart, meanwhile finished the half with three tackles in the score sheet.

Elsewhere among former Gamecocks in the pro ranks, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery accounted for two touchdowns in his team’s win against the Washington Redskins, one passing and one rushing. It was the first rushing touchdown of his career.

Linebacker/defensive end Jadeveon Clowney also made his debut after being traded to the Seattle Seahawks.

South Carolina alums on NFL rosters

A.J. CannOLJacksonville Jaguars
Alshon JefferyWRPhiladelphia Eagles
Brandon ShellOTNew York Jets
Chris LammonsCBMiami Dolphins
D.J. SwearingerSArizona Cardinals
Damiere ByrdWRArizona Cardinals
Darian StewartSTampa Bay Buccaneers
Deebo SamuelWRSan Francisco 49ers
Dennis DaleyOLCarolina Panthers
Hayden HurstTEBaltimore Ravens
Jadeveon ClowneyLBSeattle Seahawks
Jared CookTENew Orleans Saints
Jerell AdamsTEHouston Texans
Johnathan JosephCBHouston Texans
Keisean NixonCBOakland Raiders
Melvin IngramLBLos Angeles Chargers
Mike DavisRBChicago Bears
Patrick DiMarcoFBBuffalo Bills
Pharoh CooperWRCincinnati Bengals
Rashad FentonDBKansas City Chiefs
Ryan SuccopKTennessee Titans (IR)
Stephon GilmoreCBNew England Patriots
Taylor StallworthDTNew Orleans Saints
Zack BaileyOLTampa Bay Buccaneers
Greg Hadley is the beat writer for South Carolina women’s basketball and baseball for GoGamecocks and The State. He also covers football and recruiting.